…charges participants on tangible ICT policy proposals
By Ibiyemi Mathew
President Muham madu Buhari yesterday implored all participants at the Conference of African Telecommunications Regulators on Consumer Affairs (CATCO) to come up with tangible proposals and policies for governments in Africa on how to enhance telecom consumers’ quality of experience across Africa as well as increase accessibility, affordability and safety for all users of digital services.
The president was represented by the Chief of Staff to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Polycap Shambo who delivered a speech on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari.
The president in delivering his speech said that the ICT sector has been driving the Federal Government’s digital transformation agenda which is aimed at boosting efficiency in governance and all the key sectors of the economy. He further said that the contribution of telecoms to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now stands at over 10 per cent by the first quarter of this year. He expressed hope that the telecoms industry will further play a bigger role as an enabler of economic growth and development not only in Nigeria but also across Africa.
President Buhari charged telecoms regulatory agencies to focus more on the effects of technological changes on the consumers as technological evolution has changed interactions among nations.
Buhari disclosed that his administration has been making necessary efforts to address challenges associated with the right of way issue and vandalism of telecoms infrastructure among others and its impacts on the lives of millions of telecom consumers. This, he said may constitute threat to consumers on the other hand especially if left improperly regulated.
Speaking at the conference, Dr Henry Nkemadu, Director of public affair said the 2019 edition of CATCO, first edition being in 2013 is organized to critically examine, analyse and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to how telecoms regulators can empower the consumers in this era of technological evolution.
The Director who represented the Executive vice chairman of the commission, Umar Danbatta added that the commission is more committed to ensuring that every consumer get value for money spent by providing adequate information needed to protect themselves from being shortchanged by service providers,
The executive vice-chairman of NCC, Umar Danbata, said two major initiatives had been introduced to empower consumers in technological evolution. He said access to seamless telecommunications services will empower customers for business and economic development.”Improving the telecoms industry has become essential not only to business but to the national economy,” he said.
The NCC boss said a number of the challenges encountered were approached systematically to strike a balance between stakeholders.