Popular British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) presenter, Hassan Arouni has expressed concerns over the high cost of data prices in Sierra Leone.

He made his concern known via his Facebook page on Thursday, 23rd January, 2023.

It could be recalled that in January of 2023, various data prices of all mobile phone companies operating in Sierra Leone were drastically increased by 150 per cent.

Reacting to the increment, Hassan Arouni blamed  the mobile operators, and in extension, the Government of Sierra Leone for the unconcerned attitude it has displayed thus far regarding the unjustified data tariff increment in the country.

There are so many reasons why in 2023 – data should be cheap or free. This is the age of Information. Yet, in the beautiful Land That We Love, the national telecoms regulator spokesperson goes on international media to justify high data costs and adds that it is international best practice for his outfit to set a floor price for data. Really?!” He stated.

The BBC ace believes that the government should protect its citizens from the mobile companies.

I once imagined that a telecoms regulator would be on the side of the consumer – not big multinational companies that are bent on making as much profit as they can,” he noted.

The BBC reporter has not only being the one who had blasted, but, various Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), across the country but, it seems like the government cares less to listen to their calls.

The economic hardship in the country is making survival rate challenging more than ever before but it seems the government of the day is in love with the mobile phone company operators. The high data cost is making access to online learning among students across the country tougher. There is no way forward as of now but the country is hoping for the best as June 2023 is fastly approaching.

The government’s flagship project: Free and Quality Education (FQE) would not be successful if the prices of data remain as they are currently; more so, in these days of digital learning and environment.

The mobile phones companies like Africell, Qcell and Orange had explained that the reasons for the increments of data tariffs include; high exchange rates of Leones gainst the Dollars, high cost of fuel, and high operational costs. However, sources have informed this Medium that, the excuses are lame excuses, considering the difficulty the nation, and the world at large are encountering.

The Life By Design Boss, Joe Abass Bangura in an interview with the State Broadcaster (SLBC), defended the mobile companies, noting: “The data prices in Sierra Leone are cheaper in the world as compared to the international data tariffs”.

The government of Sierra Leone, however, needs to act fast before it is too late, as the people are highly expecting some sigh of relief as things are getting from bad to worse every other day,” Solomon F. Dickson, a Mass-Communication student at Fourah Bay College, expressed his view to this medium.