NCA organises consumer forum in Tamale to address telecommunications issues

Present at the Forum were representatives from MTN, AT, Telecel, Bank of Ghana and GIFEC who provided answers to the audience’s questions

The National Communications Authority (NCA) hosted a Consumer Forum at the UDS Auditorium, Tamale on April 17, 2024.

This event, which is in line with the Authority’s mandate stipulated in Section 26 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), was aimed at engaging with consumers to assess their opinions on the performance of Service Providers.

Held under the theme "Safeguarding Consumer Rights through Effective Communication", the Forum fostered dialogue and collaboration between consumers, Service Providers, the NCA and relevant stakeholders within the industry.

Discussions at the Forum bordered on topics such as Quality of Service, SIM Card Registration, Money Doubling schemes on Television (egregious content), Mobile Money fraud, recent internet disruptions, and issues on Mast and Towers.

Director General of the NCA, Dr Joe Anokye, while welcoming participants emphasized the NCA’s commitment to upholding consumer rights and its complaints management channels through which consumers can lodge their complaints for resolution.

He stated that in addition to the Consumer Forum, the Authority takes various proactive measures such as conducting of periodic surveys to gauge consumer perceptions, views and expectations.

He was optimistic that the draft Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations when passed, will be a game changer which will further underscore the NCA’s commitment to ensuring consumers receive the level of service they deserve.

Dr Anokye further addressed the recent internet outage and pointed out that it was “the Authority’s foresight that ensured that Ghana did not experience a total outage of internet services”.

He also revealed that to avoid or better manage such unforeseeable occurrences, the Authority is engaging various stakeholders in the ecosystem to pick up lessons and develop the necessary strategies.

Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful
The Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in her keynote address, highlighted government's commitment and initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring that “every Ghanaian has access to affordable and reliable communication services”.

Notable among them include the Rural Telephony Project, ECOWAS Roaming, SIM Registration and Technology Neutrality.

She also hinted that Ghana will deploy 5G before the end of the year and announced that within the next few weeks, the NCA will announce the modalities for the deployment.

The Hon. Minister seized the opportunity to caution entities and individuals who deal with pre-registered SIMs as well as individuals who use their Ghana Cards for the registration of SIMs for others to cease immediately.

She finally commended the NCA for its commitment towards consumer protection and assured the general public that under the auspices of her Ministry, “the NCA will endeavour to seek and implement forward-looking measures that will safeguard the use and adoption of digital solutions”.

Okatakyie Ababio Boakye Danquah II, Board Chairman of the NCA
Okatakyie Ababio Boakye Danquah II, Board Chairman of the NCA, closed the Forum by expressing his gratitude to participants for their opinions, insights, concerns, and recommendations shared at the event.

“It is evident that by coming together, we can demand accountability from Service Providers and bring about positive change.

"Let us maintain the energy generated here today and keep pushing for transparency, integrity and justice in consumer affairs”, he said.

He entreated participants to educate others and not to hesitate to channel their issues to their Service Providers and the NCA.

“Remember, our collective voice is powerful, and by remaining vigilant and informed, we can safeguard the rights of consumers in the telecoms space”, he added.

Present at the Forum were representatives from MTN, AT, Telecel, Bank of Ghana and GIFEC who provided answers to the audience’s questions
Participation at the Forum cut across the various sectors including academia, security agencies, artisans, religious organisation and market vendors.

Additionally, stakeholders such as Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), National Media Commission, Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC), Bank of Ghana (BoG) and Consumer Advocacy Groups were in attendance.

Consumers and the general public are hereby assured that the Authority in its quest to ensure that consumers are empowered to make informed decisions and safeguarded against unfair practices, looks forward to hosting another Forum within the year; the details for the next Forum will be communicated in due course.


Source: Myjoyonline