By Ajibola Olarinoye
The disdain being exhibited by the MultiChoice’s Digital Satellite television (DStv) towards its host country, Nigeria was laid bare recently when the company made a donation of N20bn to fight coronavirus in South Africa; when it is yet give a dime to Nigeria to battle the pandemic despite the fact its highest profit comes from the country.
The South African company, Naspers owned by Koos Bekker made the donation to curb the spread of the coronavirus that has forced the country into total lockdown as rate of infections leapfrog just as it is happening in Nigeria at present.
It is alleged that Multichoice and other South African companies operating in Nigeria have not been socially responsible as they should be, compared to billions of dollars they generate in the country annually. The money they pull in is far above what they get in other African countries. For instance, Multichoice financial results for the full year which ended March 31, 2019 states that the group raked in a whooping sum of N133.2bn revenue (5.3bn South African Rand). The previous financial year, the company raked in N100bn (N4bn Rand). It is on record that Nigeria accounted for 10.6 per cent of the Group’s total revenue for that particular financial year which stood at R50 billion.
It is this same company Multichoice that once disregarded the law of Nigeria with impunity when it disobeyed court order as regards hikes in subscription fees.
The company had announced new price regime, the Premium package subscribers would pay 7.5 per cent more (N15,800) from N14,700 every month.
The Compact Plus customers were to pay N10,650, from N9,900; Compact bouquets N6,800, from N6,300, and Family package would increase from N3,800 to N4,000, with Access from N1,900 to N2,000.
But the Consumer Protection agency kicked against the review and ordered DSTV to immediately reverse the decision.
Despite the order, however, DSTV went ahead with the review.
It will be recalled that in July 2016, Senate summoned the then Minister of Industries, Trade and investment, Mr Emeka Enelamah, Director General, Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Director General, over alleged unwholesome practices by Multichoice Nigeria.
Senator Hamman Misau who sponsored the motion said: “many concerned Nigerians are aggrieved and in constant demand to stop DSTV’s arbitrary price hikes”
Misau lamented that Multichoice Nigeria (DSTV) has been known to dominate the Nigerian satellite television market, thereby enabling it to engage in negative and unhealthy trade practices.
The Senator noted further that in the past few years, DSTV has constantly been in the news over one legal battle and another from aggrieved subscribers who are dissatisfied with the programming service and unreasonable subscription hikes across their various bouquets which have led to growing public complaints and petitions.
Another South African company that is also making a killing in Nigerian business environment is MTN Nigeria Communications plc. For instance, it raked in mouthwatering revenue of N856.4bn within nine months in 2019. In 2018, its revenue hit N1.04 trillion.
In the financial year 2019, MTN Nigeria led the entire market share with 12.2% growth while MTN South Africa’s market posted a meagre 3.3% growth!
Notable Nigerian companies including banks and prominent businessmen in the private sector have joined hands with the Federal and States Governments in the battle to mitigate the deadly virus.