By Etuka Sunday
With consumers’ interest and how they could get better quality of services as its focal point, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, says “we will abide by all the tenets of consumer rights in our day to day activities at the NCC”.
The EVC’s statement underpins activities of the regulatory agency which has manifest oversight functions over the various network operators in Nigeria.
As Nigeria joins the rest of the global community to mark the World Consumer’s Right day on March 15, 2020, the EVC said the NCC had put in place a series of initiatives to always cushion and protect the interest of the consumers.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘The Sustainable Consumer’.
For instance, it has over the years hosted the flagship Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) where consumer issues are discussed extensively in a high profile session where the regulator, operators and consumers interact and answers got in the process.
Eighty-eight of such parliaments have been held so far in the major cities across Nigeria.
Besides this, no fewer than 110 Consumer Outreach Programmes (COPs) have been held. The event holds monthly in urban centres in the country.
Consumer Town Hall Meetings (CTM) which exclusively hold in rural communities have been well received across the land. So far, 53 of such events have taken place.
There have also been Elite Enlightenment Campaigns targeted at professional organisations during their yearly conferences.
This is done to carry along the high profile professionals who may not have enough time to participate in the TCP, COP and CTMs which hold regularly.
There are campaigns too to empower the Nigerian Youth through information and awareness creation regarding their rights and obligations within the Nigerian telecom industry as well as apprising them about the consumer protection initiatives of the Commission.
“We participate in trade fairs where we engage the consumer on one-on-one basis”.
According to the EVC, the Commission has developed and produced Consumer Education materials on major telecom issues for distribution.
The developed factsheets are translated into the three major languages (Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba) including Pidgin.
Such materials cover the DND Campaign, SIM Registration and Replacement, role of NCC in consumer protection among others.
The Director Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu in a statement said, the Commission has in place different channels for lodging Consumer Complaints. These include:
The NCC 622 Toll Free number for escalating unresolved complaints and for seeking redress is working. The centre is open 8am 0 8pm Mondays to Saturdays. There has been consistent campaign on the 622 NCC Toll Free Line.
·Web Portal – The web portal is an alternative online channel for lodging complaints and making enquiries. The portal is available 24 hours and can be accessed via www.ncc.gov.ng/consumer
.Management of twitter account (@consumersncc) for disseminating information to consumers. The CAB Twitter account (@Consumersncc) is updated with current topical issues of interest to consumers and it currently has 10,700 followers (Consumers).
·Consistent campaign on DND has attracted 22,487,849 subscribers on DND services as at December 2019.
·Regular monitoring of service providers helplines to ensure that the threshold set by the Commission is met 1.e number of rings before connecting to Interactive Voice Response (IVR), connection of calls to live agents, percentage of failed attempts to customer care helplines etc.
·Review of the Complaint Categories and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) on Complaint Management in view of recent technological advancements.
Coordination of Consumer Protection Special Intervention Initiatives such as: a Strategic Bi-Annual Meeting with Senior Executive Directors of Telcos on Complaint Management. b. Constitution of a Multi-Sectorial Working Group on E-Fraud. c. Development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with relevant Stakeholders on E-Fraud.
Periodic visits to Service Providers call centres to monitor real time handling of consumer complaints on quality of service and assurance, among others.