In a startling revelation, the Deputy Opposition Leader in Parliament, Hon Aaron Aruna Koroma, has exposed the alarming surge in voice call tariffs in Sierra Leone since 2018, with cumulative hikes of over 430% for Orange, 500% for Africell, and a staggering 1,760% for Qcell.
These price surges are attributed to the introduction of a floor price by the government.
In 2018, voice call tariffs stood at NLe0.35 for Orange, NLe0.3 for Africell, and NLe0.1 for Qcell, accompanied by various bonuses and promotions. However, the recent increase of approximately 70% on the price ceilings, along with the reintroduction of bonuses, has left consumers bearing an additional financial burden.
While these tariff restructuring measures appear to be a significant boon for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the government, as they earn an additional Le100 (Old Leone) per minute call as a surcharge, it has raised concerns about the welfare of the citizens.
Hon Aaron Aruna Koroma argues that a government truly dedicated to the well-being of its people should strive to offer bonuses without resorting to such exorbitant increases in price ceilings for voice calls, urging the removal of the floor price.
With the floor price in place, MNOs are bound not to charge below the government’s set price, leaving consumers grappling with higher communication expenses.
The Deputy Opposition Leader concludes by emphasizing that a victory for the government that does not primarily benefit the masses is a cause for concern.