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FG Rejects MultiChoice Plans to Sack Employers, Increase Subscription Rates



The Federal Government has rejected any plans by the South African company MultiChoice to sack the Nigerian workers under their employment in any guise.

Following a meeting between the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, and the MultiChoice management on Monday relating to the planned increase on DStv and GOtv packages, the Commission disagree noting a similar increase about three months ago.

MultiChoice had in a message to subscribers noted that DStv Premium would be N18,400 N16,200; Compact Plus from N10,925 to N12,400; Compact from 6,975 to 7,900, while GOtv Max users would have to pay the sum of N3,600 from 3,280.

Recall that the House of Representatives had ordered a stay of action on the hike which the company blamed on the Federal Government’s 2.5 percent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from five to 7.5 percent.

John Ugbe, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, said the decision to increase the prices was made after a careful consideration of the market and a review of its business operations.

Ugbe noted that the company reviewed its prices considering financial impacts, inflation, increased content and operational costs, so they could continue to survive as a business and bring quality entertainment to customers.

He said: “To arrive at the decision to adjust prices, we took into account many factors, including the impact on the customer, current inflation, which stands at 12.82 percent, the highest in 27 months, content costs and efficiencies within the company.

Only the prices of some of the bouquets have been reviewed upwards while the lower bouquets have been left untouched.”

The planned increase, which did not go down well with many Nigerians, had prompted the NBC to sum­mon the management of MultiChoice and Startimes, which also increased its tar­iff in August, to a meeting yesterday.

Speaking exclusively with Daily Independent on what transpired at the meeting yesterday, Armstrong Idachaba, the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), said the management of the MultiChoice cited currency devaluation and inflation rate as some of the reasons that necessitated the increase.

He also said the company said it might be forced to sack Nigerian workers in its employ, a development the Nigerian government vehemently kicked against.

According to Idachaba, “They said they are committed to keeping their business in Nigeria but are affected by currency devaluation and inflation rate.

“They said their fears are that they may lay off Nigerians in their employment if they have to remain in business.

“They gave examples of other companies that are folding up because of economic challenges.

“At the end of the day, we told them that no matter the excuse they have, we are not going to tolerate any loss of jobs. We frown heavily at any attempt to lay off Nigerians because of these excuses.

“Secondly, we are not tolerating any unnecessary price hike. We asked them how they intend to do the increase and they said they wanted to start with the Premium and then move gradually to the other packages.”

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