Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has noted malpractices in the telecommunication sector and expressed commitment to protect subscribers from cheating firms and operators.
NCC made the pledge at its 98th Consumer Outreach Programme held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state.
Deputy Director of the Consumer Affairs Bureau of NCC, Alhaji. Ismail Adedigba, noted that the event was to provide telecom consumers with necessary tools to protect them from market exploitation and fraud.
Adedigba, said the NCC through its regulatory mandate ensures that the consumer is the “king” as such must be accorded their rights which included the right to be heard, right to be educated, right to choose, right to safety.
Adedigba said the decision of the NCC to initiate regular consumer-operator-regulator meetings was based on the complaints.
He said the complaints were about unsolicited text messages and calls, failure/refusal to roll over unused data at the expiration of data bundles by service providers.
Others are, automatic renewal of data services upon expiration and activation/subscription to data and value added services (VAS) without prior consent of the subscribers and call masking.
He said the NCC in response to the complaints developed a 2442 DND Short Code to solve unsolicited text messages.
“At NCC, our objectives is to ensure that consumers get value for their money, and we acted by issuance of direction to service provider on Data Roll over.
“The directive now enables consumers to roll over unused data for period of time, ranging from one day to seven days, depending on the subscriber’s data plan. It took effect from 21st of May,’’ he said.
The Tide source reports that more than 2,000 telecom consumers turned up for the event.
They were taken through necessary tools that would allow them make rational and informed decisions when making choice of services, including the new toll free number 622 for complaints to the NCC.
The Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau of the NCC, Mrs Felicia Onquegbuchulam, spoke on the theme “Using information and education as tools for consumer empowerment and Protection’’.
She said the consumer Outreach programme was one of the initiatives of the NCC to bring together telecom subscriber in the rural areas with the Network operators and the regulators.
She said the aim was to discuss and proffer solutions to consumers’ related issues and ensure consumers had the value for money through effective service delivery.
“The forum seeks to educate telecom consumers and other stakeholders of contemporary issues generating interest in the industry.
“It also serves as a feedback mechanism for the commission in making regulatory interventions for the benefit of the consumers and the service providers as well as the industry as a whole’’, Onwueguchulam said.
CBN Kicks As MTN Begins Charges For USSD Transactions, Today
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has opposed plans by the telecommunication service provider, the MTN, to charge their subscribers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data access to banking services from today.
The Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the bank’s position at a news briefing by the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings, in Washington, yesterday.
The Tide reports that MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, had said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from October 21 (today).
“Yello, as requested by your bank, from October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services.
“Please, contact your bank for more info,’’ the message said.
Responding to a question seeking his reaction to the announcement, the CBN governor said the bank would not allow that to happen.
“About five, four months ago, I held a meeting with some telecom companies as well as the leading banks in Nigeria at Central Bank, Lagos.
“At that time, we came to a conclusion that the use of USSD is a sunk cost.
“What we mean by a sunk cost is that it is not an additional cost on the infrastructure of the telecom company.
“But the telecom companies disagreed with us. They said it was an additional investment on infrastructure and for that reason, they needed to impose it.
“I have told the banks that we will not allow this to happen.
“The banks are the people who give this business to the telecom companies and I leave the banks and the telecom companies to engage.
“I have told the banks that they have to move their business, move their traffic to a telecom company that is ready to provide it at the lowest possible, if not zero cost.
“And that is where we stand, and we must achieve it,’’ he said.
The Tide reports that the transactions to be affected by the charges include intra- and inter-bank money transfers, through USSD, among others.
OML 53: NDPR, Omerelu Community Sign GMoU
The Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR), operators of the Oil Mining Licence (OML) 53, and Omerelu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, have signed the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU).
After back and forth deliberations which began in May 2019, the two parties finally signed the document which was read to the hearing of all stakeholders, last Friday, by representative of the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Justice (Mrs.) Florence Fiberesima,
Representative of the state government, and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, Mr Felix Odungweru, who expressed happiness shortly after the ceremony, stated that the signing of the GMoU would enhance the economy of federal, state and local governments, due to the peaceful coexistence that would emanate from the official pact between NDPR and the Omerelu community.
According to him, “it portends that the economy of the state, federal and local governments would be enhanced, where there is peace, there is a working understanding.”
Odungweru noted that with the signing of the GMoU, the company would not shy away from its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs), saying “in executing it’s Corporate Social responsibilities, the company goes into a GMoU with host community where all issues are straightened and stretched out”.
He said further that the pact was a “demand driven action, triggered by the community, which process started in May 2019 and concluded in October”.
On his part, the representative of the Board of Trustees, NDPR, Chief Enyindah Chukwu, expressed optimism that the GMoU would bring growth for both the community and the company operating in the community, in this case NDPR.
Chief Chukwu said, “if they play by the rules, the company would have a conducive environment to operate in as well as peace”, adding that the host community would benefit from the presence of the company operating in the area.
He explained that the GMoU was renewable every three years from the date of signing.
Also speaking, the paramount ruler of Omerelu, Eze Ben Ugoh, the Eluwa 8th of Omerelu, expressed appreciation to God and the company for the pact and expressed optimism that the community would benefit in terms of employment, development and empowerment.
Nigeria To Get $3bn World Bank Loan For Power
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, has said that the Federal Government’s request for a World Bank loan to finance the power sector is on the verge of being granted.
Ahmed stated this yesterday at a media briefing on the activities of the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded annual meetings of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings in Washington.
“We put a request for financing of the power sector at a range of $1.5bn to $4bn.
“At the end of the day, it looks like we will be looking at a funding size of $3bn that will be provided in four tranches of $750m each.
“Our plan is that the team will be able to go to the World Bank for the approval of the first tranche in April 2020,’’ she said.
The minister explained that the loan would be used to plug funding gaps and tariff differentials, which she said private investors in the sector had always complained about.
She said a portion of the money would go into the transmission segment of the electricity value chain.
If the government is able to expand the facility to four billion dollars, the additional one billion would be used for the distribution segment, she said.
“It will help us to exit the subsidy that is now inherent in the power sector.
“It is supposed to be to reform the sector and to restore the distribution business side of the sector especially to put it on a stronger footing.
“This is to ensure that they are freed up enough to be able to go out and raise financing to invest in expanding the distribution networks,’’ she said.
Ahmed stated further that the financing would also cover the gap between the current tariff and the actual cost of generating electricity.
“It will also enhance our ability to pay previous obligations in the sector that have crystallised so that investors in the sector can go on with expanding investments in the sector.
“The distribution sector will be at the backend when the other reforms have been carried out.
“It will be a loan to the distribution companies because they are owned by the private sector,” the minister said.
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