NCC Director, Efosa Idehen’s welcome address at the 1st virtual Telecom’s Consumer Parliament (TCP)

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The programme which is hosted on a quarterly basis, has become a great platform for addressing critical industry issues affecting consumers and other stakeholders in the telecommunications value-chain in Nigeria.

Besides being a platform through which various Consumer issues are addressed, the Telecom Consumer Parliament has had significant, positive and far-reaching impacts on the growth of the industry and benefited stakeholders in many ways.

Ladies and gentlemen, you will agree with me that while access to high-speed broadband connectivity is getting more pervasive and available to Nigerians to improve efficiency in their daily activities. Associated with this increased use, cyber criminals, cyber hackers or cyber fraudsters – whose stock in trade is to perpetuate criminality on the Internet has heightened since the outbreak of Covid-19. These cyber criminals defraud unsuspecting internet users who now, more than ever before relies on broadband internet to reach friends, clients and partners.

Though the issue of cybercrime is a global phenomenon with levels of pervasiveness different from country to country and from region to region. It is becoming more pronounced in Nigeria along with it costs to individuals and organizations in terms of revenue losses, among other dangers it poses to victims. It is, therefore, our concern in NCC to ensure that risks associated with the usage of the Internet by Nigerians are addressed and managed successfully.

It is on the crest of this that the Commission, as a consumer-centric telecommunications industry regulatory agency chose today’s theme: “The Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on Telecom Service Delivery” for discussion. The objective is to ascertain the role telecom service providers played and are expected to play to protect telecoms consumers and deliver quality service to them during this unique period.

With this theme in mind, it becomes necessary to ask: What roles are currently being played by telecom service providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) alike towards protecting their consumers in the Covid-19 pandemic era.

Additionally, are the measures put in place to protect the consumers sufficient?

Do the service providers need to institute new measures to improve upon consumer protection initiatives? Finally, do the additional measures compliment the current legal and regulatory frameworks to ensure improved security for telecom consumers while online?

I am sure, with your active participation, answers shall be provided to all these questions raised as deliberation continues.

On a daily basis, the Commission receives complaints from telecoms consumers regarding service delivery. Thus, as a responsible regulator that envisions top-notch service delivery by the operators, we would continue to do everything within our regulatory mandate to ensure that constant improvement in telecoms service delivery is sustained.

While acknowledging the challenges facing the network operators especially because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, there is also the need for us to find solutions to the numerous complaints received from consumers with regards to the poor Quality of Service delivered especially in the voice and data segment.

The Consumer Affairs Bureau has been engaging the industry at different level to ensure the Consumer get value for money spent. The more recent was the Bi-annual meeting with Senior Executives Directors of telecom companies on complaint management on Tuesday, August 11, 2020 hence the need for the meeting to swiftly address the issues raised and resolutions were reached at the meeting

Ladies and gentlemen, let me restate that this forum is in line with the Commission’s culture of robust stakeholder engagement and consultation on any industry issue. Therefore, I enjoin you all to maximise this opportunity to contribute to today’s discussion which will help to reinforce efforts aimed at protecting telecom consumer interest and ultimately promote a healthy telecom industry for all.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to invite the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, to present the opening remarks and declare the first virtual edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament open.

I welcome you to this Parliament once again and I thank you for listening.

Thank you.

Source: Pulse Nigeria.

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