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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

FG gazettes telecom consumer code of practice

The Federal Government has announced the gazetting of telecom consumer code of practice regulation.

Disclosing this, telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through its Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe made this announcement at a one-day stakeholders forum organized by IT & Telecom Digest in collaboration with NCC and held in Lagos.

Ndukwe who presented a keynote speech at the event said the Commission has encouraged the government to gazette a Consumer Code of Practice for users of telecoms services which now requires operators to submit for approval, a code which must stipulate the rights of the consumers, procedures for resolving disagreements with the consumers, and service level agreements with their consumers.

“It is important to emphasize that it is the primary responsibility of the operating companies to, at all times, ensure that their consumers are provided acceptable quality of service and to promptly and professionally address complaints and grievances of their clients,” he said.

Also he said NCC does not intend to theorize about empowering the consumer but has given practical expression to it by establishing a full-fledged department called Consumer Affairs Bureau with a Protect, Inform and Educate (PIE) mandate to the Nigerian telecom consumers.

The Commission, he noted, has followed this action with the launch of the monthly Telecom Consumer Parliament, a novel regulatory initiative that has earned the Commission and Nigeria, the commendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and other Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals across the globe as the parliament has helped in no small measure in creating awareness of the rights and obligations of the service providers in the resolution of consumer problems and concerns.

Ndukwe said the Parliament sessions, which has held 46 sessions usually subject the operators to publicly account for their activities pertaining to service delivery to the consumers while feedbacks from the sessions have culminated in far-reaching regulatory interventions from the commission.

The NCC boss said some other key policies and programmes which the Commission has made for the benefit of the consumer, include but not limited to the introduction of price caps for services within which the operators were allowed to charge for services and introduction of competition in all segments of the telecom services portfolio to ensure that the consumers have a wide range of products and services to choose from and are not held to ransom by any service provider.



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