By Ossom Raphael
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) , Prof. Umar Danbatta Wednesday said the Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) prevented the planned takeover of mobile telecoms firm, Etisalat Nigeria, by a consortium of Nigerian banks over a $1.72 billion (about N541.8 billion) loan crisis.
Prof. Danbatta, who disclosed this at a conference shortly after the opening of the NCC’S Year of Consumer which was held at its headquarters in Abuja, said as part of the Commission’s strategic partnership, intervened in the matter to save the industry from a major calamity.
The EVC, said the NCC and the CBN had scheduled another meeting for next week among the major actors, adding that shareholders would also be involved in the talks to ensure an amicable resolution of the matter.
According Danbatta, “at this point, let me assure you that there is no cause for alarm regarding the matter; the regulators are on top of the situation and details of the resolution would be made available within the next couple of weeks.”
“The NCC and the CBN have to intervene regarding this issue, particularly in a manner that will not disturb the business operations of all the parties involved and in the larger interest of the nation’s economy,”
Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, disclosed that the Nigerian telecom consumers spent $6.6 billion in 2016.
Prof. Danbatta, further disclosed that in 2015, the Nigerian telecom consumers spent $5.6 billion.
The NCC, boss disclosed this in Abuja during the opening of the NCC Year of Consumer.
“Today’s event is remarkable. More remarkable is that the year 2017 is dedicated to the Nigerian Telecom Consumer,’’ he said.
Danbatta said that NCC intends to inform and educate consumers with the aim of protecting and empowering them to make the right decisions, adding that a robust media programme would accompany the initiatives in campaign through the year providing unique and timely information to all.
“That is why in 2017, and I dare say and even beyond, the consumer will be our focus.
“The NCC is mandated to monitor the quality of service and ensure it conforms to acceptable standard.
“A management decision that compelled us to seek to amplify our activities toward ensuring that the consumer enjoys a customer experience that is enhanced and consistent in time and quality.
“We must remember that these consumers together have made all the success stories speak about in the telecom industry today,” Danbatta stated.
On his part the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, called on Nigerians to adopt made in Nigeria software, saying effort must be made to protect local industries and local software developers.
He added that the ministry was working on formulating cogent policies, frameworks and guidelines on protecting ICT consumers.
“The major issues of telecom consumers include drop calls on the rise due to customer base management; delay in hooking up calls due to congestion arising from possible obsolete equipment and maintenance; power interruption; Network coverage issues and enforcement challenges. Our goal is to find balance between consumer rights and right to privacy,” he said.
Mr. Shittu said the government was increasing its adoption of ICT to provide better response to the citizens’ demands and improve service delivery to make administration more efficient.
The high point of the event was the unveiling of Ali Nuhu, an actor and producer popularly known as King of Kannywood of Hausa movies, and Helen Paul, a broadcaster and stand-up comedian, as the “Face of the Nigerian Telecom Consumer”