AKIPRESS.COM - Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has canceled a government decision to increase Internet fees amid growing online protests, Tajik presidential spokesman Adbufattoh Sharifzoda told RFE/RL on April 23.
Rahmon ordered the government and the Antimonopoly Service to restore the previous, lower rates for Internet services. Earlier in the day, the presidential press service said Antimonopoly Service chief Sadi Qodirzoda had been dismissed from his duties 'due to his transfer to another job.'
The press service said Qodirzoda will now serve as a deputy chief of the presidential administration. Ikromiddin Valizoda, who was deputy chief of the government's Agency for Standardization, was appointed as the new chief of the Antimonopoly Service, the press service said.
Qodizoda's removal from the post comes amid criticism of his leadership at the Antimonopoly Service, which last month ordered all Internet providers in the country to nearly double the minimum fee for Internet connections, as of April 18.
Tajik Internet users started paying at least 62 somonis ($6.50) per gigabyte. Before that, the fee was a maximum of 35 somonis per gigabyte.
The move has been criticized among Internet users across Tajikistan.