By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, says the administration has reduced the current cost of data by 50 per cent.
The Minister who revealed this in a statement on Thursday explained that the reduction was made possible in line with his directives to the service providers through the industry regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
According to a statement from the Minister, this followed measures put in place by the Ministry to significantly reduce the average cost of data at an incremental rate.
He explained the average cost of 1GB data was reduced from N1,000 cost of January 2020 to N487.18 in November 2020.
This, the statement explained was based on a report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) submitted to the Minister following the implementation of the directives.
The Minister had inaugurated a committee that developed the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) on the 16th of December, 2019.
The Plan was unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 19th of March, 2020.
One of the goals of the Plan is to reduce the average cost of 1GB of data to a maximum of N390 by 2025.
“With the January 2020 baseline of N1,000 per GB, the maximum projected steady decrease for the end of each year was as follows: 2020 (N925), 2021 (N850), 2022 (N775), 2023 (N700), 2024 (N545) and 2025 (N390),” it added.
“In line with Dr Pantami’s commitment to under promise and over deliver, the measures have caused the current cost of data to reduce significantly beyond the December 2020 projection of N925.
“Based on the report by NCC, the average cost of N1,000 data as at November 2020 was N487.18, which amounts to 47.33% lower than the projected value.
“The report also indicates that the cost of data in November 2020 was less than 50% of the cost of data in January 2020,” the statement said.
The Minister said the Ministry through the NCC, will continue to ensure that consumers enjoy a price regime that supports fairness and is friendly to consumers.
It added that “policies are in place to ensure that operators adopt competitive pricing that eschews unjustifiable margins.”
The further hinted that the complaints about rapid data depletion are also being investigated by the authorities.
The Minister, however, directed NCC to respond to all issues raised by our citizens and customers, aaying that all hands will remain on deck to achieve the goals of the Broadband Plan as the Ministry supervises its implementation in line with our National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria.