Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has told the Federal Government that it cannot ask private operators not to increase the prices of goods and services offered Nigerians.
Odinkanlu blasted the Federal Government for its audacity in instructing private businesses not to increase prices of goods and services when it had in the last few months increased the rate of Value Added Tax, pump price of petrol and charges on Point of Sales and Automated Teller Machine transactions.
In a thinly veiled reference to the National Broadcasting Commission’s directive to pay television provider, MultiChoice, to revert to its tariffs before June 1, 2020, Odinkalu, on Twitter, accused the Federal Government of raising charges on a variety of services, but issuing orders to private operators to do otherwise.
He tweeted: “Increased VAT, increased electricity tariff, increased petrol price, charges on POS, charges on ATM withdrawals, but private operators can’t adjust their prices under the watch of a government that keeps raising charges.”
MultiChoice had, with effect from June 1 adjusted tariffs on its pay television packages to reflect the new VAT rate of 7.5 per cent, which came into effect on February 1.
Previously, the VAT rate was 5 per cent.
The hike in VAT rate is one of the provisions of the Finance Bill, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 13.
On Wednesday, Dr. Armstrong Idachaba, acting Director-General of the NBC, directed MultiChoice to revert to its old prices.
Idachaba was acting on the instruction given to him by the House of Representatives during a session held to deliberate on pay television subscription models.