The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), yesterday called on financial stakeholders to protect digital financial consumers from losses.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the call at the annual 2022 World Consumer Rights Day, celebrated on Tuesday in Abuja.
TheFact Nigeria reports that Danbatta explicated that increased protection was necessary since more people were signing up for digital financial services like banking, insurance, and investment management.
He said, “The theme of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day, as announced by Consumer International, calls for stakeholders to do more in protecting consumers and keeping them informed.
“However, some of these consumers must cope with vulnerabilities in using digital financial services.
“These challenges of adapting to digital platforms for transactions are further worsened by unscrupulous people that exploit consumer vulnerabilities for illicit gains.
“All stakeholders have the responsibility to protect consumers against losses on account of their adopting digital platforms; they should enjoy the protection as obtained on the legacy platforms,” the EVC said.
Speaking further, he said despite the challenges, the commission was also working hard to bring in those who lack access to digital platforms for now.
He, however, noted that an increase in infrastructure would increase digital inclusion and enable the country to achieve its 80 per cent digital inclusion in the next four years.
“As we address the threat and challenges to those that are already connected to digital finance, the Commission is mindful of those that are yet to be connected because of coverage issues.
“As many as 35 million Nigerians are yet to have access to telecommunications services and by implication, they lack access to digital financial services.
“This situation denies these Nigerians access to digital financial inclusion. It is a challenge that is attributable to the inadequacy of both wireless and fibre connectivity infrastructure.
“The fact remains that more citizens will embrace the digital financial culture when they have access to telecom services in the distant, isolated, unserved, and underserved communities where they dwell,” He said.
“We are therefore conscious of the urgency of increasing investment in both fixed and wireless infrastructure. This will make the target of at least 80 per cent level of financial inclusion in about four years possible.”
The EVC informed that the commission would establish Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE) Desk, at strategic locations across the country to provide information to telecom consumers.
Earlier, the Board Chairman of NCC, Prof. Adeolu Akande, said the theme was apt.
Akande said it was apt because the increasingly high speed of digitalisation of financial services had thrown up many challenges for consumers as they navigate the new financial services landscape.
He described the day as a catalyst for the Commission to scale up what it is already doing to protect, inform and educate the telecom consumer.
“On the other hand, the theme is appropriate because now is the time to address issues that will make access to, and usage of digital financial services safer for the consumer.
The Country Director, Save the Consumer, Mr Aliyu Ilias, commended the NCC and also called on the, Commission and other regulators to come up with regulations to check and investigate activities of online loan providers nationwide.
Dr. Christopher Nwanoro, President, National Disability Empowerment Forum (NADEF) applauded the NCC towards its effort in the social inclusion of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
Nwanoro also sought the Commission’s support to produce a user-friendly telecom manual, especially in form of braille to assist consumers living with disabilities.
The event also featured debates for secondary schools and roads works, which held in all its zonal offices to commemorate the dat and also enlighten consumers across the country.