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Customers kick as Multichoice, NBC increase products’ prices

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Plan boycott of services

Effective May 1, millions of Digital Satellite Television (DStv) subscribers in the country would pay more as the owners, Multichoice, effects a price increase across all packages.
 
The PayTv giant yesterday sent out text messages informing its teeming subscribers to expect price hike in 30 days time. A specific message to Premium bouquet customers reads: “Dear DStv customer, due to a price adjustment, your premium package fee has changed from N13, 980 to N14, 700 effective May 1, 2017.”
 
The price hike is coming at a time most Nigerians are struggling to stay afloat considering the economic recession characterised by very high inflation rate the country is currently experiencing.

With the hike certain, the possibility of more subscribers dropping the service appears to be high going by the lamentations of subscribers, who spoke to The Guardian yesterday.

Investigations showed that the South African PayTV firm has about 10.4 million subscribers in 50 African states, with Nigeria home to about four million of them as at 2016.
In a statement made available to The Guardian and signed by its Public Relations Manager, Caroline Oghuma, with the title: “DStv Price Changes”, MultiChoice defended that the price adjustment for all packages was made after careful consideration of the market and review of its business operations.
  
The Managing Director of Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe, was quoted as saying: “We announced last year that we would do everything possible to hold the price barring any extreme factors. However, all our content is purchased in dollars and although we have done everything possible to hold the prices even with the price of everything else going up, we are now left with no choice but to adjust our subscription prices from May 1.
  
“Our key priority is to put subscribers’ needs at the heart of everything we do and therefore, in determining the price adjustment, we took into account many factors including, the impact on the customer, current inflation which stands at 19 per cent, programming costs and efficiencies within the company. Please be assured that we have worked really hard to keep this year’s fees manageable.”
  
Subscribers, who spoke with The Guardian, lamented the development. A subscriber, Lanre Ogundeyi said while most Nigerians suffered in silence, foreign companies like Multichoice ripped them off their hard earned money.

Ogundeyi wants subscribers to fight for their rights using legal means by questioning the decisions of the firm. “At a time the economy is bleeding, when most people cannot get three meals per day, they are increasing their fees. I think we should jettison their services. We shall look for a better competitor, which is more reasonable.”
  
To an Abuja based customer, Fidelis Duru, “the company has passion for fleecing Nigerians without value for their money. Despite the current economic recession, several Nigerians still renew their subscription and the reward they could get from Multichoice is to increase subscriptions again.”

The development came after Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) Plc, on April 1st, announced the third increase in prices of its products in less than four months.Despite accounting for the fourth largest sales of soft drinks globally, consumers of NBC confectionaries have bemoaned the incessant increase in the prices of the products for the third consecutive time.

Although, stakeholders in the industry noted that the rise in the price of the commodities may not be unconnected with the rise in the price of sugar in the United States, the hub of production of Coca-Cola.

Similarly, there are concerns about the pace of implementation of the Nigeria’s sugar master plan under the backward integration programme for the industry, as there is still heavy reliance on importation of raw sugar for local refining.

Aggrieved consumers who spoke with The Guardian described the move by NBC as an unjustified means of extorting the Nigerian market, which has demonstrated its loyalty to the brand over the years. The price has soared from N1, 200 last year to N1, 700 from April 1, 2017.

 


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