By Etuka Sunday
As the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) was celebrated globally yesterday, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has described telecoms consumer as the central factor in the organising principles of the Commission’s regulatory activities.
Prof Danbatta, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, said through riding on its tripartite principle of fairness, firmness and forthrightness, the NCC will continue to advance the course of protecting telecoms consumers from unwholesome practices by the service providers.
According to him, the Commission celebrates the telecom consumer every day of the year, and it is a self-evident truth that consumer is the lifeblood of the sector, adding that the efforts will be sustained in line with the theme of this year’s WCRD: ‘The Sustainable Consumer.’
“In keeping with its commitment to the tradition of celebrating the telecom consumer, the NCC is reiterating its commitment to safeguarding the interest and ensuring the satisfaction of the consumer as the central factor of the telecom ecosystem,” he explained.
Speaking further, Prof Danbatta said that the NCC has strengthened initiatives to educate and inform consumer and the Commission declared 2017 as the Year of the Telecom Consumer.
“Some of those consumer-centric initiatives, programmes, directions, policies and regulations, include the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 Short Code, to which over 24 million subscriber have subscribed to in order to be able to control unsolicited text messages; the Toll-Free Number 622 as a second level mechanism for escalating consumer complaints not satisfactorily resolved by the service providers to the Commission for effective resolutions. Over a million complaints have been successfully resolved for the consumers through this channels,” he said.
In the same vein, Danbatta said, “We have also put in place regulations to combat e-waste in the country, working in collaboration with other agency to combat influx of fake and substandard phone sin the country, developed guidelines on disaster recovery to ensure consumers do not face the negative impact of network problem on service delivery for long.
Realising that telecom consumers increasingly rely on telecom platforms to carry out financial transactions, Danbatta said the NCC has inaugurated a 26-member multi-sectorial committee to develop modalities for protecting telecoms consumers from being vulnerable to e-frauds, while it has also taken measures to review its Consumer Complaints and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA) by the operators.
Accordding to Prof Danbatta, the Commission developed the 112 Emergency Communication Number, which can be dialed by a telecoms consumer in an emergency situation to get help from emergency response agencies through the Emergency Communications Centres built by the Commission.
Currently, 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have ECCs while efforts are ongoing to build ECC in other remaining states of the federation.
The EVC explained that the Commission has issued directions to protect telecoms consumers from being shortchanged by the service provider. Prominent among these are the direction on forceful subscription to valued-added services (VAS) and direction on data-roll over.