The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are currently working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on online payments and transactions in the country, the regional Director of NCC, Ms. Helen Obi, has said.
She disclosed this while answering questions from journalists at the eight edition of the Consumer Conversation held in Abuja.
The Consumer Conversation Forum is organised by the NCC to educate, enlighten and empower the consumers on their rights and privileges.
“As a result of online payments and transactions, there are lots of regulatory collaborations that have become necessary between CBN and the MOU. Both parties have recognised that fact that the customers in the banking sector and also the consumers in the Telecom sector that both are not shortchanged by the service providers in those sectors’, she said.
She added: “We are discussing on common grounds to come on board with an MOU that will guide the sectors we regulate the banks and the Telecom service providers as soon as we put that in place we will put it in the public domain and make it available”
The director noted that the NCC had done a lot in informing, educating and empowering the consumers with the information about their rights.
She explained: “According to the statistics given by my chief executive some time ago, before we started this programme it was about 500 subscribers that who we know, knew about how to stop receiving unsolicited messages but as at few months ago, we now have 10 million subscribers as a result of this conversation that we are doing.
“Therefore we can say that NCC has really come a long way and we are still making progress. The fact is that the NCC is making sure that the service providers don’t use the wrong billing method; they are suppose have NCC also sets price caps for them which they are not supposed to go beyond.
“We also set a price slot which they are not supposed to go below. NCC keeps monitoring them. We have a department that is dedicated to tariff issues and we keep monitoring them because before any service provider will put out any billing or any charges on any service that it is providing it must get approval from NCC. Any one that flaunts it get penalised.”
Furthermore, she said that the NCC is a consumer centric organisation because the consumers is at the heart of all at the commission.
She also said that they do not engage the services of middlemen when dealing with the consumer in order to make sure that the service providers are up and running.
“NCC is a consumer centric organisation because the consumer is at the heart of all that we do and in making sure that the networks are up and running”, she stated.
“Apart from this consumer conversation we have other consumer engagements such as The Consumer Parliament, the Consumer Town Hall and the Consumer Outreach. But this one was designed to have NCC at the grassroots consumers to have direct contact and conversation with the regulator so that they will know that the regulator feels their plight.
“And we have not brought any middle men between us and them so that we can give them first hand information and hear from them first hand; what their concerns are, and seek to address them.”
On tariffs, she said that competition in the industry had brought down prices of SMS and data in the industry which has made tariffs more affordable to subscribers.