The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated commitment to hasten deployment of robust broadband infrastructure accessible to all Nigerians to enhance their access to the required resources to carry out seamless digital financial services, irrespective of their locations and circumstances.
NCC gave the assurance at a programme organised to honor 2022 World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD).
Speaking at the programme which took place at the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, themed: ‘Fair Digital Finance’, NCC announced the establishment of a dedicate desk, tagged: “TELCARE” to be operated across the country to enhance telecoms consumer protection.
The event which holds both physically and virtually saw Board members, senior management and staff of the Commission, collaborating agencies and other critical industry stakeholders in attendance.
Adeolu Akinde, Chairman, Board of commissioners at NCC while speaking at the event, disclosed that in line with NCC’s mandates, 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 in the nation’s economy.
Meanwhile, emphasising on the theme of the WCRD 2022, the Chairman noted considering the increasing number of telecom consumers who are also users of digital finance services, the Commission is working assiduously to ensure that all consumers, including the most vulnerable, are provided with access to manage their finances, and protected from scams, fraud, and phishing to safeguard their data.
Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the commission while giving a keynote speech stated that the theme of this year’s WCRD aligns with the emerging realities of the regulatory goals of the Commission and inform the audience that the Commission is aware of the dynamic changes in the telecom industry, even as the Commission consolidated the growth in the telecommunication sector since the sector’s liberalisation in 2001.
He stated that the growth in the telecom industry has led to convergence in different sectors, especially between telecoms and the financial service sector. According to him, there is no greater demonstration of this than the fact that financial transactions that were once conducted in-person at banking halls are now undertaken on consumers’ mobile devices.
“Financial and commercial activities have been digitised, and the most common of this is the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), which has brought ease to financial transactions,” he said.
The EVC declared that NCC embarked on various initiatives including the licensing of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos), effective utilisation of spectrum, industry collaboration to address operators’ challenges, increased collaborations with relevant government agencies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria to drive growth in all sectors.
Similarly, he noted that Commission has been working hard to ensure that broadband penetration gets to every part of the country and asserted that the number of active mobile subscriptions reached 195.4 million while Internet subscription has exceeded 141 million, because there has been increasing broadband penetration which stood at 40.88 per cent as at December 2021.
He also attributed the contribution of the telecom and ICT sector to the GDP of the country with reference to data from NBS.
The NCC chairman disclosed that the Commission had finalised arrangements to establish the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk, which he said will be strategically located in different parts of the county to serve as an additional platform to receive and facilitate the resolution of consumer complaints.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), CBN, Association of Licensed Telecom Operators (ALTON), the Industry Consumer Advisory Forum (ICAF), National Disability Empowerment Forum (NDEF), telecom operators, among other stakeholders, commended the Commission for all its consumer-centric initiatives and assured of their continuing collaboration towards creating a safer cyber space for digital service users in Nigeria.