The House of Representatives has, again, invited the management of DSTV over increment of the cable television’s subscription tariffs on June 1. While StarTimes was present at the hearing, DSTV and other satellite TV operators were absent.
Therefore, the House Ad Hoc Committee Investigating the Non-Implementation of ‘Pay As You Go’ Tariff by Satellite Broadcast Service Providers issued the invite, asking DSTV, owned by South Africa-based MultiChoice, to appear before it next Tuesday.
At its investigative hearing in Abuja on Tuesday (8/18/2020), the committee gave StarTimes two weeks to review its subscription fees to reflect the current new 7.5 percent Value Added Tax.
StarTimes had increased its subscription rates by 30 percent, claiming VAT increment and an increase in the number of channels provided. The committee, however, faulted the claim.
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Unyime Idem, said the directive was to allow Startimes to have a tariff that reflects the current economic realities, including the VAT and exchange rate.
The lawmakers decried that the tariff hike came at a time when Nigerians were suffering serious economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Regardless, Startimes said the increment was not out of place and it was to offset extra expenditures spent to keep up its operations.
The Chief Operating Officer, Startimes, Mr Tunde Aina, said, “The organisation 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.”
Aina also explained that the increment was to enable Startimes offset extra costs incurred in the cause of its operations, occasioned by high exchange rates in the acquisition of equipment outside Nigeria as well in power generation to run its operations.