EVERYONE growing up in the early ’70s to the late ’80s, of the last century must be familiar with the gaming machine called ‘kalo kalo’. It is a lottery type machine where you insert your coin and win money if the right number combination appears. They are still found in present day casino houses and big hotels.
The machine is programmed to collect more than it gives out, if you are lucky to get a win today and decide to try your luck the next day, the machine will collect all that you have won the previous day and put you in deficit. That is the way of the ‘kalo kalo’ machine. It always ends up the winner and daily you see the shylock Lebanese business men, going round to collect their gains from the machines, of course under heavy security cover.
That is the situation we have found ourselves with the DSTV and GOTV, products of Multi-choice. Any which way, they always end up winners and collect our money like the ‘kalo kalo’ machine. When it rains, your DSTV cannot receive signals and when the signals return, no apology is given and no reimbursement for lost time. When they are faced with technical issues and are unable to transmit to users as it happened to GOTV in the weekend of 7th March 2015, no apology was given, only to be faced with a vexatious tariff increase message for DSTV.
Why is it that everyone has learnt to take the Nigerian consumer for granted? How come we have descended so low in esteem? Almost every multi- national corporation doing business in Nigeria is guilty of this, they do not love us but they love our money so much. The airlines, the hotels, construction, entertainment, indeed almost all all of them have shown sufficient disdain for the people and this is what the government and those in authority should begin to address.
Why is it so easy for our Stock market to crash at the slightest sign of stress? Why is it so easy for our naira to be repatriated out of the country by every Tom, Dick and Harry? Why is it so easy for investors to overnight, withdraw their money from the stock market, do we not have rules and guidelines? Why can’t multi-nationals leave a reasonable chunk of their proceeds in this country? Why must all monies be repatriated, with nothing left for Nigeria, the goose laying the golden eggs?
That is the issue with multi-choice, they believe in running their transactions in foreign currencies and any slight drop in naira is easily translated and the burden passed on to the consumers. Why is it so difficult for Multi-choice to run their subscription on pay as you use basis, given the frequent disruptions in airing their service? I understand that in South Africa, this is what obtains, why can’t we enjoy what the South Africans are enjoying or, don’t we deserve it?
The speed with which Multi-choice increase their tariff is not acceptable. It is a general norm that currencies go up and down but the mark of a reliable and stable company is the ability to weather these shocks over a period of time. Prices must remain stable and not go up and down as if though they are wares on sale in the open market. It is also expected that the naira will regain some strength after the whole brouhaha of politics is whittled down. Why did Multi-choice not wait and observe until the naira attains a stable position before they increase their tariffs? With all the money Multi-choice carts and repatriates home, what have they left behind for the Nigerians? What structure has Multi-choice built, in terms of equipments, facilities, manpower development, investments and corporate social responsibilities to environment in which they do business? Most of the things they charge in dollars for can be done here in Nigeria and by Nigerians but because the money must go to their home country, all of these are not factored in. By now, Multi-choice should have established a fully independent office in Nigeria, operating with all the local contents and not the superfluous foreign contents that we see. The way they promote the South African sports, why don’t they do same for Nigeria?
All am trying to say here is, we must stop this culture of ‘anything goes’ in Nigeria. People come into this country with only their brief cases and within a year they are repatriating our money abroad. Look at the Chinese, the Indians and the old masters Lebanese, we allow in businesses with no rules or controls, all in the name of encouraging direct foreign investments.
Everywhere you go now, you see people hawking GOTV, the problem is not the rush for customers, it is the inability to match the great rush for customers with efficient services and facilities. Why must multi-choice canvass for more customers when they cannot fully satisfy the many that they have? Why must signals go of under slight rains? Why must people pay for periods that DSTV/GOTV is not on air? Why can’t we pay according to the hours of usage or pay as you go, as it is called?
These are the questions Multi-choice must answer. For now, theirs is just like the ‘kalo kalo’ machine, a money guzzler.
In the piece of last week “where will the pendulum swing to” I quoted Donald Forbes instead of Donald Trump. The error is regretted. Sunny Ikhioya
Mr. Sunny Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.