Tribunal Dismisses Suit Against DStv-GOtv Over Tariff Hike - 9japarrot

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Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Tribunal Dismisses Suit Against DStv-GOtv Over Tariff Hike




The suit challenging the recent price hike in tariff by MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, the operator of satellite televisions – DSTV and GOTV, has been dismissed by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal sitting in Abuja.


The three-member panel tribunal headed by Mr Thomas Okosun, dismissed the suit which was filed by Mr Festus Onifade on behalf of himself and the coalition of Nigerian consumers, as lacking in merit.

The tribunal held that the power to regulate prices of goods and services does not reside in the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the regulatory agency.


According to the tribunal, the power to regulate prices of goods and services only resides in the President.

The tribunal, which held that the claimants failed to prove that MultiChoice had abused its power of dominance in the market, said since Nigeria operates a free market economy, the argument lacked merit.


The panel also refused to grant the claimants’ prayer to direct the firm to adopt a pay-as-you-view model of billing for all its products and services.

It, however, ordered FCCPC to investigate if the firm adopts a pay-as-you-view package for its products and services in other countries, especially South Africa, and report back to the court within six months.


In the suit, MultiChoice was the first respondent while the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was cited as the second.

The plaintiff approached the tribunal a short period after MultiChoice announced its plan to increase subscription tariffs on all its products, from April 1.


In his amended suit on June 20, Onifade asked the tribunal to issue an order, directing and mandating the cable service provider to adopt a pay-as-you-view model of charging for its products and services in Nigeria.

He also demanded damages to be awarded against the company to the tune of N10 million.


It was gathered that the tribunal initially granted an ex-parte motion that directed the parties to maintain status quo ante Bellum, but the company allegedly proceeded with the price increase on DStv and Gotv subscriptions.


MultiChoice’s lawyer, Mr Jamiu Agoro, challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to entertain the case.

He urged the tribunal to set aside its interlocutory order, arguing that the claimants lacked the locus standi to institute the action.


The tribunal, however, dismissed the matter for want of merit, despite affirming its jurisdiction on the case.

The tribunal noted that “Only the President has the powers to regulate or fix prices of goods and services under stipulated circumstances which do not apply in this instance.”

It also posited that the claimants could not prove how they suffered psychological trauma, hardship or how their rights were trampled upon by the said hike.

The panel, therefore, declared that prayers 1, 2 and 3 of the claimants are not grantable as the power to regulate prices of goods and services only resides in the president of Nigeria.

It also said that prayers 4 and 5 of the claimants lacked merit.

The panel, however, ordered the management of MultiChoice to appear before it on Sept. 8 with their 2021 audited financial statements.

The Nation

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