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Stakeholders to dialogue on telecoms consumer protection activities

Critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector are set to participate in an industry-wide dialogue summit aimed at addressing salient issues affecting over 200 million telecom corporate and individual consumers, as Nigeria marks 20 years of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) revolution.

This is to be discussed at a roundtable conversation on telecom consumer’s series, themed “Nigeria’s deregulated telecom sector @ 20: addressing critical issues on consumer protection”

Organized by Business Metrics, a leading media and consultancy firm, the forum is scheduled to hold virtually on Thursday, November 18, 2021 by 10:00 a.m. and is expected to drive this lofty agenda through the power of Organized Consumer Advocacy Bodies and industry regulators.

Mh’Saheed Olaniran, chairman, organizing committee of the forum the rationale behind the event is to adopt a novel approach of improving services using consumerism as a veritable tool, as the telecoms is one of the largest sectors in the country with an estimated 200 million consumers.

Consequently, in keeping with the centrality of consumers in the stakeholder mapping of telecoms industry, a need has been identified to advance discussions on how issues of consumer protection and consumer satisfaction can be advanced as the sector begins the journey into the next decade.

“In the last two decades following the full liberalisation of the sector, more than $70 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and Local Investment has been pumped into infrastructure expansion and other operations by telecoms licensees. This, in turn, has helped in delivering services to the consumers, whose spending on telecoms services have bolstered the growth of the sector,” Olaniran said.

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He also said that Digital Mobile Licenses (DML) were issued by the Nigerian government, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2001 and this development has, in the last two decades, transformed the entire national lifestyle for government, businesses and individuals with greater impact on socio-economic development of the country.

Olaniran added that telecoms consumers remain critical stakeholders in the journey of Nigeria’s digital transformation as they face certain challenges bordering on accessibility, availability and affordability of telecoms services just as the issue of consumer protection continues to take the front burner.

“When assessed, the result of a poll once conducted by the Nigerian Communications Commission showed that 88.5 percent of subscribers answered in the negative when asked if they were satisfied with services received from their service providers, only 9.16 percent were satisfied while 2.33 percent were indifferent,” Olaniran said.

He added that with the growing numbers of both individual and enterprise consumers of telecoms services, a key aspect of concern is always the consumer-operator relationship with emphasis on value of money spent on telecoms services and products, as all consumer satisfaction metrics have remained qualitatively and quantitatively on a low ebb.

Omobayo Azeez, Managing Editor, Business Metrics, hinted that Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy and Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, are expected to be the guest of honor and give keynote addresses respectively at the dialogue forum.

Participants at the conversation forum include the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC); Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN); Nigeria Governors’ Forum (AGF); Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON); Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON); Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) and Chief Executives of telecom companies.

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