In a firm determination to bring succour to groaning telecom subscribers in Nigeria, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) have constituted a joint committee to work out modalities to assuage consumer abuses in the telecom sector.
The Chief Executives of the two organisations, who 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 at the Commissionâ€™s headquarters in Abuja, gave the committee two weeks to come up with its recommendations.
The visit of the DG, which is in continuation of her crusade for a better deal for Nigerian consumers of telecom services, was used to address the for the operators to shift from their often highlighted challenges to making efforts at assuaging the feelings of millions of their displeased consumers over poor services in the sector.
Mrs. Atoki commended the NCCâ€™s EVC for initiating fines against the offending operators in line with his organisationâ€™s enabling law, adding that moves must henceforth be made beyond the fines to ensuring that consumers get value for their money.
According to her; â€œThe fines are legal and we do not dispute, but we want to move this beyond fines to see what we can do to ensure that consumers get value for money.
She however condemned the consistent claim by operators that the challenge of doing business in Nigeria has made it difficult for them (operators) to give consumers value for money.
â€œFrom 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 business is good. Therefore, in the light of the above, the concern for CPC is: How do operators plan to assuage consumer complaints?â€ she asked.
She admitted that both CPC and NCC, have common challenges, considering the fact that both bodies are concerned that the telecom providers have not met the Key Performance Indices (KPI) that have been set for them, which often attracts fines sanctions.
â€œOrdinarily, 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 Commissionâ€™s integral objectiveâ€, she sated.
Responding, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah said his organisation has put a lot in place to regulate the sector with a view to protecting the consumers, noting that â€œif we have not done anything, we donâ€™t know where we will beâ€ in an apparent reference to the level of service delivery.