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FG Orders Telecom Firms To Suspends USSD Service Charge

Minister of Communication, Dr Isa Pantami, has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission to compel telecommunications service providers of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data deductions by network providers in Nigeria.

He also ordered the commission to put a stop to ‘illegal’ deduction of subscribers’ data by the telcos.

Reacting to the development, the Personal Assistant to the Minister on New Media, Yusuf Abubakar, who disclosed the development on Sunday, said Pantami gave the directives after he received a progress report on the implementation of Short-Term Performance Targets set for the NCC.

The minister was said to be worried that Nigerians were paying so much for data without enjoying value for money spent.

“According to the report from a UK-based price comparison website – Cable, Nigeria is not among the top 10 African countries with low average price of data, a position the Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Pantami, finds worrisome considering the fact that the country has over 174 million internet users made public by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

“The minister also finds it unacceptable that with the prevailing high cost of data in Nigeria, the citizens still do not enjoy value for money as subscribers battle daily with illegal deduction of data, poor quality of service, among others.

“It is against this backdrop that the minister directed the NCC, the telecom regulators, to immediately work hand in hand with the telecom operators and ensure a downward review of the price of data in Nigeria, improved quality of service provided and check the illegal deduction of subscribers’ data,” parts of a statement signed by Abubakar read.

It will be recalled that the NCC had urged the minister to help address some challenges faced by operators in the telecommunications industry.

The challenges, according to the NCC, are vandalism of infrastructure, inadequate power supply, disputes over right of way and multiple taxes.

In a related development, the minister has directed the management of Galaxy Backbone Plc, a government-owned information technology service provider, to improve the performance of the firm.

Pantami, according to Abubakar, directed Galaxy Backbone to leverage the advantage it had as a government-funded entity to deliver effective and efficient services in order to attract more revenue for the government.

“The minister reminded the management of Galaxy Backbone Plc that the Nigerian government invested in the enterprise to reap the dividend of its investment.”

He challenged Galaxy Backbone Plc to ensure that more ministries, department and agencies patronised its services.

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