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CATCO 2019: Danbatta Calls For Adequate Regulation On New Digital Solutions To Protect Consumers

By Presley Odeyenuma, Abuja

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NCC says there is need to protect telecom consumers with adequate regulations in the face of new digital services and solutions that could expose users to cheats by service providers

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof.  Umar Garba Danbatta, has said there is need to protect telecom consumers with adequate regulations in the face of new digital services and solutions that could expose users to cheats by service providers.

Danbatta stated this at the second edition of a three-day Conference of African Telecommunications Regulators on Consumer Affairs, (CATCO) which kicked off at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja today (August 20th). 

He therefore called on regulators of telecommunications sectors across the African continent to place primacy on regulatory measures to adequately protect telecoms consumers in their respective countries.

The EVC who was ably represented the Director,  Public Affairs, NCC,  Dr.  Henry Nkemadu, said that CATCO 2019, which is building on the successes of the maiden edition held in 2013, provides unique opportunity for African telecoms regulators “to build on principle of pan-Africanism within the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) space, thereby sustaining a robust collaborative regulatory environment where current and future consumer-oriented challenges can be effectively addressed.”

In a passionate keynote address he maintained that the wake-up call for regulators to prioritise consumer issues has become necessary considering the fast-pacing advancement in ICT where telecom consumers, on a daily basis, are exposed to new digital services and solutions with potential for the telecom consumers to be short-changed by service providers if adequate regulations are not put in place to protect the consumers. 

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Danbatta stressed that in Nigeria, protection and empowerment of the consumers is at the centre of all the NCC’s regulatory activities through ensuring that consumers get consistently-improved service delivery from their respective networks and resolutions on any complaint brought to the knowledge of the Commission. 

“NCC,  as a leading telecom regulator in the African continent, strongly believes that service delivery on the part of our licensees in this era of technological evolution should be the totality of how telecoms operating companies package, provide and deliver those services to their consumers from the point of ensuring right quality of service  (QoS) to the point of delivering the service to the consumers in a satisfactory manner,” he said.

The Nigeria’s Chief Telecom Regulator also stated that consumer empowerment and protection is consistent with Item 6 of the 8-Point Agenda of the NCC’s Strategic Vision 2015-2020 and also in line with various policies, guidelines, regulations and other intervention mechanisms which the Commission has deliberately put in place to grow the telecom industry while empowering and protecting the consumers.

The event geared towards pursuing a continuous collaboration between African telecommunications regulatory agencies of individual countries and their regional bodies such as West Africa Telecommunication Regulatory Assembly (WATRA), East African Communications Organisation (EACO), among others, was graced by dignitaries from various African countries such as Ghana, Niger, Sierra Leone, Mauritania , Senegal ,Mali, Burkina Faso and a host of others.

While describing the 2019 CATCO as  “a bridge buider” among telecom regulators in the continent, he charged all participants at the event to leverage the opportunity of the forum “to collectively reach concrete resolutions on how we, as regulators, can better empower the ever-growing consumers of ICT tools and services in the light of technological advancement in the industry.”

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