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CPC, NCC Form Alliance to Curb Abuses by Telecoms Firms

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Story:  Yemi Akinsuyi


The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have constituted a joint committee to work out modalities to stem poor services to subscribers in the telecoms sector.

The two organisations  took the decision at the weekend when the Director General of CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, paid a courtesy call on the Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, in Abuja, during which they gave  the committee two weeks to come up with recommendations on how to ensure that subscribers get better services.

  Atoki, while taking her crusade for a better deal for subscribers to the commission, said time was ripe for the operators to shift from their often highlighted challenges to making efforts at assuaging the feelings of subscribers who are experiencing poor services in the sector. She commended Juwah for initiating fines against the offending operators in line with his organisation’s enabling law, adding that moves must henceforth be made beyond the fines to ensuring that the subscribers get value for their money.

According to her: “The fines are legal and we do not dispute it, but we want to move this beyond fines to see what we can do to ensure that consumers get value for their money. What comes out from our side is that the operators use the challenge of doing business as a reason why they cannot give value for money.
“From the consumer side, we say it is not fair because if providers are in business and are making profit and that profit emanates from the resources that consumers put into that business; as long as they are in business, it means it is profitable, as long as no operator has filed for bankruptcy, it means the business is good. Therefore, in the light of the above, the concern for CPC is how do operators plan to assuage consumer complaints?”

Speaking further on the matter, she said: “We do have common challenges in the sense that as the regulator in the telecoms sector it has come to light and you have said several times that the telecoms providers do not meet the Key Performance Indices (KPIs) that have been set for them, which has led you to, on several occasions, use your powers to fine them, which we applaud.

“Ordinarily, it is a deterrent measure to prevent re-occurrence. But it does seem that it is not reflective in the overall objectives of the fines because infraction continues. We have a common goal even though we have our different powers. And we need to work together to ensure that consumers get value for their money, which is also your commission’s integral objective.

 “From our side, as the protector of consumers, what we believe the operators should be thinking about is at the minimum how to refund the unused airtime that subscribers have paid for which due to whatever reason has not given value for money.

“I believe the time has come for the operators to recognise the fact that they have an obligation to the consumers to make sure they get value for money.”

Atoki, while assuring consumers of better days ahead, pointed out that the CPC’s intervention will extend to all sectors of the economy and that products and services must meet international standards.
Juwah, in his remarks, said his organisation woul support CPC in its determination to seek redress for subscribers because “it is in line with our Key Performance Indices (KPIs)”.

He said his organisation had taken measures to regulate the sector with a view to protecting subscribers, adding that “if we have not done anything, we don’t know where we will be,” in an apparent reference to the level of service delivery.

He listed vandalism of the operators’ facilities and lack of infrastructure as some of the challenges facing telecoms operators, noting however, that “lack of infrastructure has not affected them to the extent they want us to believe.”
According to him, business is not as rosy with many of the operators as many people would want to believe.

Article Credit: ThisDay newspaper

Updated 5 Years ago

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Tags:     Consumer Protection Council (CPC)     Dr. Eugene Juwah     Mrs. Dupe Atoki     Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)