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92nd TCP: NCC advocates improved telecoms services for vulnerable consumers

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission says the People Living With Disabilities and the elderly citizens constitute an important segment of the  population deserving efficient telecoms services and quality consumer experience in the ecosystem

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of the telecoms sector regulator’s Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) series, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advocated the need for sustainability and improved telecoms for consumers, especially the elderly and People Living With Disabilities (PLWD) in the economy.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated this Thursday, May 25, 2023, in his opening remarks at the 92nd Edition of Telecom Consumer Parliament in Lagos.

The latest TCP held in Lagos had the theme, ‘Consumer Protection for People Living with Disabilities and the Elderly’.

The NCC Executive Vice-Chairman said the PLWD and the elderly constitute an important segment of the Nigerian  population that deserve attention in terms of efficient telecoms services and attendant quality consumer experience.

Danbatta stressed this segment of the population should be provided telecommunications services and sustainability irrespective of the locations of such persons in Nigeria.

Sustainability, inclusive and affordable telecoms services for PLWDs

The NCC Chief stated that telecoms services must be inclusive, and should leverage technology to speed up the process, and integrating such persons should be priority in the country’s ecosystem.

The EVC/CEO of the Commission also noted: “No one in the society should be disenfranchised when it comes to access to affordable telecommunications services and sustainability of those services.

“We have put in place measures to ensure that those services are available everywhere and for all persons irrespective of their locations.”

Danbatta further said: “The other one is to ensure affordable cost of those services because the society is so dynamic and services must care first with our growing population, especially the PLWD and the elderly who have given a major part of their lives in serving the country.”

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission also emphasised it is important to recognise people with disabilities, the senior citizens, and ensure that the interests of this category of people in the society are represented at the important event.

Danbatta as well commended department of Public Affairs of NCC for the programme because it would throw up ideas to make senior citizens and PLWDs enjoy telecommunications services.

Earlier in his welcome address at the forum, Mr. Alkasim Umar, Director of Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) at NCC, said noted the 92nd Edition of the Commission’s TCP was to discuss issues affecting the Nigerian telecoms consumers.

Umar, represented at the consumer engagement forum by Mr. Banji Ojo, Head of CAB, said the the programme also aimed at charting a way forward to direct the affairs of consumers, especially physically challenged Nigerians.

According to him, the programme would create awareness and ensure no one is left behind in the Nigerian telecoms ecosystem.

Strategies for achieving inclusiveness of PLWDs, senior citizens, by GSMA Director

Also in his keynote address, Mr. Kamal Tamawa, Director of Spectrum and Industry Services at Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA),  highlighted barriers to be addressed to achieve inclusiveness of the PLWD and the elderly.

Tamawa said some of these strategies are awareness and availability of products and services, affordability of products and services for persons with disabilities, and affordable devices designed by technology companies.

Literacy and skills, he noted, are also needed to maximise the potential of mobile devices as an assistive technology.

The panelists at the TCP affirmed that collaboration among Telecos would help achieve inclusiveness, and provide affordable bundle for specific categories of consumers.

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