By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives has given Star Times two weeks ultimatum to review it subscription rate to reflect the current 2.5% VAT increase in the country.
This was the resolution of the House Adhoc Committee investigating the Non Implementation of Pay as You go tariff hike by Broadcast Satelite Providers in the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Uyime Idem from Akwa Ibom, said the decision was to allow the company liberty to review the tariff while taking consideration of some variables including Exchange Rate, in the interest of Nigerians.
Star Time, one of the leading Satellite TV Service Provider in Nigeria had increased its subscription fees by 30% claiming the increase in Value Added Tax and number of channels provided as reasons, prompting the lawmakers to take action.
Although DSTV and other Broadcast Satellite providers failed to appear before the committee.
Star Time partnered with Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, to provide the Satelite Broadcast Service, on a 60-40% agreement.
This Committee further expressed displeasure over the hike in price of it’s subscription to it’s customers especially at a time when Nigerians were grinning under serious economic hardship occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the management of Startimes Cable Television Network justified the reasons for the recent hike by 10 and 30 percent respectively across board.
According to Mr. Tunde Aina, Chief Operating Officer, Startimes, “the organization is currently operating the pay as you watch tariff to meet the aspirations of a section of the Nigerian society who are sparsely at home all day, all week all month and all year round.
He also explained that the increment was to enable it offset some extra cost incurred in the cause of its operations occasioned by high exchange rate in acquiring equipments abroad as well in power generation to run its equipments.
He also called for cooperation between Startimes and the parliament in arriving at strategy to improve services to the Nigerian people.
The committee however insisted on return to status quo by reverting to the old rate for the benefit of the Nigerian people whom the organization is serving.