The Federal Government Of Nigeria
Federal Ministry Of Communication
Address By The Honourable Minister Of Communication, Barrister Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu
At World Consumer Rights DAY 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I am delighted to be invited to be part of the celebration of the flagging off of the NCC 2017 year of the consumer. This is timely in view of the fact that the flag off date has coincided with the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) celebration.
I am made to understand that, the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices, which undermine those rights.
You will all recall that, the first WCRD was observed on 15 March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action.
The theme for the World Consumer Rights Day 2017 is ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’.
It is, therefore, not out of place for the NCC to flag off and declare the 2017 a year of the consumer since the 2017 WCTD celebration falls within the purview of the NCC regulatory activities and oversight functions on the telecom industry.
Please allow me to share with you Nigeria’s ICT development, and challenges within the ICT landscape.
Last year, I Chaired the National Council on Communications Technology meetings, which are aimed at facilitating Inter-Governmental Consultations on ICT matters and to avoid unnecessary disparities in developmental structures and standards in Nigeria.
The meetings deliberated on the following, among others:
A Nigeria ICT Roadmap 2016-2019, as well as the National ICT Strategic Plan 2016-2024 for implementation was birthed; the adoption and implementation of the e-government master plan is being fast-tracked; recommended digital literacy as a minimum requirement for employment and promotion in the public service to be implemented in phases; governments at all levels to digitise their records, and also adopt only Nigerian software in the process.
The Ministry has articulated government’s position and direction on issues that are key to ICT development at global and national levels. The Ministry is working on formulating cogent policies, frameworks and guidelines on protecting ICT consumers, especially in telecommunications. Nigeria has established itself as one of the fastest growing (and as such one of the most important) mobile cellular markets in the world.
The normal anticipated consumer data-base should be hosting about 450 million records of users, if each customer joins at least two network vendors with each having at least a single sim card. However, some consumers have two to three SIM cards/lines due to network coverage challenges.
Billions of dollars have been invested in the Nigerian telecoms market since the inception of GSM in 2001; operators have committed to invest more Billion in the (near) future. Because of this development, Nigeria as the most populous nation in Africa, access to internet has to be redressed to balance with the theme: ‘Better Digital World’.
Research shows that by 2020, about 52 percent of the World population will be online but about 72 percent of people don’t know what information companies collect about them online; therefore we need to build a “Better Digital World”.
The major issues or challenges of Telecom consumers are among others; the following:
Drop calls on the rise due to customer base management and perhaps ineffective regulations.
Delays in hooking up calls due to congestions arising from possible obsolete equipment’s and maintenance.
Power interruptions and social unrest in some regions’ Network Coverage Issues Enforcement lapses government is no doubt working on policies and political influences to improve on those challenges.
Government is also working to create digital awareness campaign with the objective of increasing the capacity, confidence, and trust Nigerians have in their digital lives.
No doubt, ICTs are invaluable to the process of governance, business, education, health etc and Government is increasing its adoption of ICTs to provide better response to citizens’ demands, improve service delivery, and make administration more efficient. We are doing this by connecting government, creating an informed citizenry and increasing online service delivery.
Government is actively engaged in the key forums working to answer questions on quality of service and consumer rights. Our goal is to find a balance between consumers on the one hand, and privacy on the other for Nigerians; and we extend our cooperation in working with stakeholders that can help us achieve this.
I would like to conclude by flagging off 2017 Year of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer Day.
Thank you all.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.