By Idris Bakare
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has gotten a deadline of five working days to resolve the issue of data reduction.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, gave NCC the deadline on Tuesday during the inauguration of a new Executive Commissioner of the NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, in Abuja.
The Minister had in October, ordered the NCC to compel the service providers to stop the illegal deduction of data after he received a progress report on the implementation of Short-Term Performance Targets set for the NCC.
However, the Minister said he wasn’t impressed with the explanation given by the NCC on the matter, asking the Commission to take immediate action and report back to him.
“I commented last time on the issue of data deduction, this is one of the issues that is worrying me badly to death.
“I was not fully convinced with the explanation by the NCC; please go back and review that issue.
“It is very important and I want to get your feedback in the next five working days with the decision on it because the complaints from Nigerians are beyond what I can handle.” he said.
He stressed that the Nigerians are complaining seriously about the illegal deduction of data, noting that he is also affected by it.
“As it is today, people are complaining and it happens to me. I recharge my phone (my data line) and I believe what I use is not up to 20 percent of what I purchase.
Speaking on the need for a reduction in the cost of data, he said, “Also, I directed the NCC to reduce the price of data as well.
“It is very important because other African countries that are not as big as we are, have a lesser price of data.”
According to him, the primary responsibility of the NCC was to protect the consumers and not the service providers.
“As a regulator, your main agenda is to protect the customers. Customers are supposed to be kings and most of these customers are Nigerians.
“Our top priority should be the interest of customers, who happened to be Nigerians,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the Minister said he would be facing a panel on Saturday to defend the ministry’s achievement so far, adding that he would face another board that will be chaired by the President, on December 1.