By Philip Yatai
A Kaduna-based NGO, Carelink Resource Foundation, has called on the Federal Government to compel DSTV and other digital pay television and telecom companies to reduce their subscription charges.
The Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, Mr Silas Ideva, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Ideva said that the call became necessary following the current harsh economic condition faced by many households due to the lockdown of the country over Coronavirus (COVID-19).
He explained that low income earners can no longer afford to pay the current subscription rates of digital television needed to keep them informed and entertained while obeying the stay-at-home order.
He noted that households were faced with hunger and starvation, while still paying huge amount of money to subscribe to digital television at this critical time.
He also pointed out that call rates of telecommunication service providers were equally high and needs to be slashed down in line with current economic realities.
“The federal government should, therefore, intervene as part of measures to alleviate the suffering of the people, particularly low-income earners and those who live from hand-to-mouth.
“People need all the support they can get from government to survive this critical time,” he added.
Ideva commended the Federal and the Kaduna State Government for the commitment in cushioning the effects of the pandemic on citizens by providing some form of palliatives to the most vulnerable households.
He stressed the need for the federal and state government’s palliative to be inclusive, considering that the lockdown had affected the earnings of most households, including wage earners whose savings have depleted.
According to him, people’s source of income has suddenly stopped; savings depleting by the day; pockets running dry, while cost of foodstuffs is increasing by the day.
“Workers, artisans, traders are currently facing financial hardships and are finding it difficult to provide meals for their households due to the lockdown.
“Children are at home; households’ consumption has increased; savings depleting, and households not generating income to replace the depleting one posed a very scary picture of the immediate future.
“If the lockdown persisted without proper measures in place, people will resort to other means of survival to meet their daily needs and could lead to rise in social vices.
“Therefore, government should look beyond the vulnerable and put measures in place to ensure that the palliatives address the peculiar needs of every households.” (NAN)