The Commission has also pledged to speed up the deployment of reliable internet infrastructure that is accessible to all Nigerians.
This will also improve consumers’ access to the resources they need to conduct seamless digital financial services, regardless of where they are or what their circumstances are.
The promise was given at a ceremony commemorating World Consumer Rights Day in the year 2022. (WCRD).
The NCC Management announced the establishment of a dedicated desk, dubbed “TELCARE,” to be operated across the country to enhance telecoms consumer protection at a program held at the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, and implemented in the context of the global theme: “Fair Digital Finance.”
The event, which was held both in person and digitally, had a huge turnout and participation. Participants included members of the Commission’s board of directors, top management, and employees, as well as partnering agencies and other key industry partners.
The event was held in conjunction with a roadshow held in Abuja and other NCC zonal offices around the country to educate telecom customers on the importance of the WCRD and to engage them in discussions about the NCC’s ongoing commitment to consumer protection.
Prof. Adeolu Akande, Chairman of the NCC Board of Commissioners, said the Board and Management have been upbeat in implementing regulatory initiatives aimed at building a robust digital ecosystem to drive the frontier of digital economy with positive impacts on all other sectors of the nation’s economy, in line with NCC’s mandates.
In reference to the subject of the WCRD 2022, Akande stated that the Commission is working diligently to guarantee that all consumers, including the most vulnerable, have access to manage their money and are protected from scams, fraud, and phishing to secure their data.
Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, noted earlier in his keynote presentation that the theme of this year’s WCRD coincides with the emerging reality of the Commission’s regulatory goals.
He told the audience that the Commission is cognizant of the telecom industry’s dynamic changes, even as the Commission consolidated the telecom sector’s expansion since its liberalization in 2001.
According to Danbatta, the telecom industry’s rise has resulted in convergence in other areas, particularly between telecoms and financial services.
The fact that financial transactions that were once made in-person in banking halls are now handled on consumers’ mobile devices, according to him, is the best example of this.
“Financial and commercial activities have been digitized, with the most prominent example being the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), which has made financial transactions easier,” he stated.
NCC has embarked on a number of initiatives, according to Danbatta, including the licensing of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), effective spectrum utilization, industry collaboration to address operators’ challenges, and increased collaboration with relevant government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The availability, accessibility, and affordability of ubiquitous broadband services to fuel growth in all industries, including the financial services sector, is a fundamental goal of these projects.
The EVC went on to say that the Commission has been working hard to ensure that everyone in the country has access to broadband.
He claimed that the number of active mobile subscriptions had reached 195.4 million, while Internet subscriptions had surpassed 141 million, owing to rising broadband penetration, which he estimated to be at 40.88 percent in December 2021.
“In the year 2021, despite some of the issues facing the sector, telecommunications remained an enabler of growth in the Nigerian economy.” According to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics, the Information and Communications sector contributed approximately N17 trillion to the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP).” Danbatta noted this to put the contribution of telecom and ICT in context for the audience.
Danbatta also revealed that the NCC had finalized arrangements to establish the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution, and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk, which is in line with the NCC’s goal of ensuring consumer happiness.
According to him, the Desk would be strategically situated around the county to serve as an extra platform for receiving and resolving consumer concerns.
According to him, the Desk will also provide a way for consumers and citizens to ask questions about consumer issues, as well as a platform for advocacy on any current consumer issues and concerns. It will also raise awareness of the Commission’s activities.
The Desk, he said, will complement current Commission initiatives targeted at defending consumers’ interests, privileges, and rights.
The Commission’s Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu, echoed the EVC’s submissions, saying that the WCRD’s theme serves as a reminder that “we all have a responsibility to protect the consumer from market abuses, exploitation, and injustices that erode the consumer’s rights, especially when it comes to using digital financial services.”
Representatives from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators (ALTON), the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF), the National Disability Empowerment Forum (NDEF), and telecom operators, among other stakeholders, praised the Commission for its consumer-centric initiatives and pledged to continue working together to make Nigeria’s cyberspace a safer place for digital service users.
The NCC had already organized a debate for secondary school students in Abuja on Monday, March 14, 2022, as part of the activities planned for this year’s WCRD anniversary.
The discussion centered on how students use mobile devices to improve their academic results.
The Commission used the debate to inform students about their rights and privileges, as well as to highlight the Commission’s other initiatives.