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NCC, stakeholders move to tackle electronic frauds, roaming tariffs

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other telecoms regulators under the protection of West African Telecoms Regulators Assembly (WATRA) have devised means to combat the rising waves of electronic frauds and standardising regional roaming tariffs in the sub-region.

This decision was reached at a two-day meeting organised by WATRA in collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), which started on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, in Abuja.

The meeting provided a platform for key participants and stakeholders to deliberate on building a unified market in telecommunications services in West Africa, combat roaming and cyber-related frauds, and achieve the standardisation of roaming tariffs among ECOWAS member-states.

Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC and Chairman of WATRA was represented by Bako Wakil, NCC’s Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity. Other representatives of telecoms regulators from countries across West Africa were also present.

“As businesses move online, the fraudsters are also going digital. Based on this fact and in order to give West African citizens and businesses the confidence to fully take advantage of the enormous benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), there was a need for regulators to tame and outpace the fraudsters,” Danbatta said.

About 75 percent of trade within ECOWAS is informal, and thus poorly recorded. Therefore, digitising this trade through employing many forms of electronic payments is a significant step towards formalising, governing and boosting intra-ECOWAS trade activities.

Read also: NCC alerts telecom users of Flubot malware targeting bank accounts

“Our ambitions are to formalise informal trade, including agricultural commodities as well as boosting intra-regional trade and this requires us to improve collaboration on combating electronic fraud,” Danbatta said.

The delegates at the forum were informed that electronic fraud is not just an African or a West African issue but a global phenomenon. Studies show that 54 percent of consumers in the European Union said they are most likely to come across misleading/deceptive or fraudulent advertisements or offers on the Internet, he added.

On the regional roaming service, the Assembly has the vision of a ‘Digital ECOWAS’ where improved sub-regional roaming regulation can help to facilitate an economic integration in the region.

“Our citizens, traders and companies will trade better when they can use their telephones to call contacts in other ECOWAS countries and when they can use their data subscriptions at no extra cost while travelling or doing business within the region. So, reducing and eventually eliminating the cost of roaming will also be a very significant contribution towards boosting trade within the region,” Danbatta said.

The collaboration between the telecommunications body and personnel within ECOWAS and WATRA, have made each of their roles complementary.

The mutually reinforcing-policies legislative frameworks that have been designed at the ECOWAS level, enables WATRA to do the follow-up work of information-sharing, dialogue and learning dispersal among regulatory authorities.

Aliyu Aboki, Executive Secretary of WATRA, emphasised the value of a trusted digital economy to any nation. He cited a study by Accenture, which concludes that “a trusted digital economy would stimulate 2.8 percent additional growth for major firms, with the new transactions generated totaling $5.2 trillion of value creation in the economy,” hence, the establishment and operationalisation of national and regional anti-fraud committees.

The highlights of the event include an update on the status of the implementation of the Removal of Surcharges on International Traffic (SIIT) on ECOWAS countries, establishment of a uniform tariff cap for roaming call termination in the ECOWAS region, among others.

On Wed, 27 Oct 2021 at 21:54, Frank Eleanya <frankelean1283@gmail.com> wrote:

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