By Alhaji Haruna Sani
Native Consortium & Research Center has given a 21-day ultimatum starting on October 21st, 2022 that,should the National Teleommunications Commission (NATCOM) and parliamentarians fail to remove the 300% recent increment on data tariff, the consortium will lead a nation-wide protest to parliament to demand a reversal in the callous finance Act that adds to the already suffering consumers.
Daniel B. Kaitibi, Director General of NATCOM had on October 18th, 2022, urged Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to stipulate a minimum floor price levy at Le 18 (old Leones) per megabyte.
According to Kaitibi, the instruction was to comply with the telecommunication data services, as per the General Provision of the Finance Act of 2022.
The Executive Director of Native Consortium, Edmond Abu Jnr. noted in a short press statement that the so called NATCOM mobile data floor price was a scam and anti-competitive for business.
“To make the public understand this broad day light robbery from the Act, 1.5GB Qcell data tariff that was sold for NLe 9 has been increased to NLe 27 today (200% increament). 1GB Orange data tariff that was sold for NLe 9 is now sold at Le35 (300% increment), same for Africell,” he alarmed.
The Native Consortium boss urged all Members of Parliament (MPs) and leaders of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Coalition for Change party (C4C) and the National Grand Coalition (NGC) political parties in parliament to give back the people the weekend free calls (cola), midnight calls & bonuses before the life of parliament ends.
“The Consortium partially blames Justice Fisher for all that happening because of the delay in giving the final judgment against NATCOM and mobile companies.
With the unbearable whooping increment on data prices, NATCOM decision met a wider condemnation by the public.
Following the extensive criticism by Sierra Leoneans, NATCOM issued another press statement on October 21st, stating that the Commission has been inundated with concerns from the public about the floor price of Le18 per megabyte.
The commission noted that the relevant stakeholders were being engaged on the issue and that the public will be adequately informed about the outcome.