House of Reps Ad Hoc Committee rejects StarTimes price increment - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

House of Reps Ad Hoc Committee rejects StarTimes price increment

The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Pay-As-You-Go, headed by Rep. Unyime Idem (Akwa-Ibom-PDP), on Tuesday, described the increment in prices of StarTimes satellite TV bouquet as “unacceptable”, insisting that it must be “reviewed downwards”.

Hon. Idem explained that the increment, which is between 30 and 31 percent was not tenable as Nigerians are facing harsh economic climate and consequently gave the management two weeks to review downward the prices.

” We will give you sometime to go back to the management and look at the increment as it relates to the 2.5 percent VAT increment, then come back to the committee. What you have done is between 30 and 31 percent. But for this particular increase, we will not accept it”, he stated.

Earlier, the chief executive officer of Star Times, Mr. David Wang, told the committee that the new prices on different bouquets, operated by the satellite company were affordable. “For now all the prices are affordable for all Nigerians. The prices are cheap”.

He disclosed that before the increase in price, Nigerians were given only 80 stations, but now subscribers are enjoying 100 channels.

Also speaking, the chief operating officer of the company, Mr. Tunde Aina appealed to the lawmakers to impress on the federal government to give bailout to the sector to enable them reduce the cost of subscription.

He said ” We are happy to reconsider the price inceent, but it is left for the management to decide. But we request that government should consider palliatives for the industry. We will be glad to reduce the price, provided the committee could help us get palliatives from the government”

Speaking on the non availability of Star Times terrestrial services on some states like Yobe, the COO explained that insecurity in the area was hampering the operations of the company.

He said “Due to the security situation in the north east, after doing Taraba and Adamawa, we had to suspend operations. But when the security improved, we moved into Maiduguri.

“However, we could not extend terrestrial channels to Yobe (Damaturu) because of insecurity”, he explained.

In his presentation, a director with Star Times, Mr. Joshua Wang said the increment was occasioned by the difficulties they go through in obtaining equipment. He explained that most of their equipment were sourced from Europe and America but the scarcity of forex was frustrating their efforts.

“Most of the equipment are not manufactured in Nigeria – it is from Europe and America and scarcity of dollar and euro at official rate has increased our cost of operations. Sometimes, you get dollar between 450 and 480 naira”.


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