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COVID-19: How NCC mitigates pandemic impact on telecoms operators, subscribers

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NCC VTCP

Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has taken actions to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the quality of service delivery by telecommunications networks.

Kano Focus reports that the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta disclosed this at the 1st Virtual Telecom Consumer Parliament hosted by the commission in Abuja.

Mr Danbatta said the pandemic has caused as much as 800% demand hike in data usage and volume of calls for some operators.

He said that underlines the importance of ensuring quality of service delivery and quality of experience for telecoms consumers.

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He said the NCC in conjunction with the supervising Ministry developed e-platforms to handle all requests from the licensees to ensure that regulatory services are provided to sustain service delivery to subscribers.

He said the NCC also approved and encouraged resource sharing among network operators and secured Right of Passage for all telecommunications companies and suppliers for easy movement during the lockdown.

These measures according to him enabled the operators to service their base stations and ensured seamless services for telecom consumers who increasingly relied on the networks during the pandemic.

The EVC added that the NCC, working with the ministry is resolving the problem of high cost of Right of Way (RoW) with the Nigerian Governors Forum.

“The Commission is hopeful that with the reduction in RoW, which will automatically result in reduction in capital expenditure by the network operators, telecom companies will sooner than later reciprocate the gesture by making their services more affordable to Nigerians,” he said.

Mr Danbatta said regulatory efforts have also resulted in Presidential approval directing security agencies to protect ICT and telecom facilities as critical national assets.

He said this has helped to safeguard telecom infrastructure for the greater role telecom has to play with the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Danbatta has strongly charged the service providers to constantly upgrade and expand their network capacity in order to deliver high quality of service to their consumers.

Panel highlights challenges

In his presentation, the Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Adeleke Adewolu showed the various Quality of Service indicators for the second quarter of the year across the networks and how the consumer Quality of Experience compared with the parameters based on the voice of the consumer survey conducted by the Commission.

Mr Adewolu highlighted the challenges facing operators, which impact negatively on quality of service to include fibre cuts, vandalism and theft of telecommunications site equipment.

A panel session of telecoms operators, who participated virtually in the TCP, was held and moderated by the Director, Consumer Affairs, NCC, Efosa Idehen.

The panel session addressed issues of network capacity upgrade, change in consumer data consumption behavior, implementation of agreed Consumer Complaints and Service Level Agreement (CC/SLA), consumer education as well as general issues around   quality of service and quality of experience by the over 192 million telecom consumers in the country.

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Police trains PPROs on strategic communication

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Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Nigeria Police, in partnership with the Nigeria-German Development Cooperation (GIZ), has commenced a three-day capacity building workshop for police public relations officers.

KANO FOCUS reports that the workshop was declared open by the Inspector General of Police Usman Baba Alkali on Wednesday in Kano.

Mr Alkali who was represented by Assistant Inspector General of Police zone 1 Sadiq Abubakar said the workshop was taking place at a time the Force is implementing a new manpower development policy.

He added that the program also focuses on improving capacity of police personnel across all ranks, in line with new policing standards and best practices.

According to him, the course seeks to equip the participants with skills necessary for effective descriptive, analytical and strategic communication with emphasis on criminal investigations and procedure.

He expressed the hope that the workshop would empower police spokespersons in the areas of strategic communication and crime scene management.

“Participants of this course must be reminded that to succeed as police image makers, they must be versatile and have deep theoretical and practical knowledge of all aspects of policing, covering administration, operations, investigations, forensics, amongst others.

“I encourage participants to take advantage of the opportunities the workshop presents, to interact, cross-fertilize and broaden their skills, especially in responding to crime incidents and to fit-in to the ever demanding, dynamic but necessary task of information management and public engagement for the Force,” he said.

The Police IG reaffirmed the commitment of the Force under his leadership to well-thought-out and goal-driven partnership and collaborations, “with progressive and positive-minded organizations such as the GIZ, targeted at enhancing professional, structural and operational capacity of the Force.”

In his remark the Kano State Commisioner of Police Shuaib Isma’ila Dikko sai the workshop is timely and unique in many ways.

He added that it is the contextual theme of the workshop which seeks to develop robust forensic awareness and knowledge for police Spokespersons.

This in itself flows from contemporary public relations practice which identifies Police spokespersons across the world as one of the first responders to crime scenes.

These roles are germane to the pursuit of professional criminal investigations and the dispensation of justice to both the victims and defendants

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NCC set to combat e-fraud, standardise regional roaming tariffs

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other telecoms regulators under the auspices of West African Telecoms Regulators Assembly (WATRA) are set to develop technical and regulatory modalities aimed at combating rising wave of electronic frauds, and standardising regional roaming tariffs in the sub-region.

KANO FOCUS reports that this was the crux of a two-day meeting organised by WATRA in collaboration with the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), which started on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at Rockview Hotel in Abuja.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives of telecoms regulators from countries across West Africa, provided a platform for key participants and stakeholders to deliberate on building a unified market in telecommunications services in West Africa, to combat roaming and cyber-related frauds, and achieve the standardisation of roaming tariffs among ECOWAS member-states.

Addressing stakeholders at the meeting, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, who is also the Chairman of WATRA, underscored the centrality of the meeting by emphasising that, as businesses move online, the fraudsters are also going digital.

Danbatta, who was represented by NCC’s Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, Bako Wakil, said, based on this fact and in order to give West African citizens and businesses the confidence to fully take advantage of the enormous benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), there was a need for regulators to tame and outpace the fraudsters.

“About 75 per cent of trade within ECOWAS is informal, and thus poorly recorded. Therefore, digitising this trade through employing many forms of electronic payments is a significant step towards formalising, governing and boosting intra-ECOWAS trade activities.

“Our ambitions are to formalise informal trade, including agricultural commodities as well as boosting intra-regional trade and this requires us to improve collaboration on combating electronic fraud,” Danbatta said.

Danbatta informed the delegates to the forum that electronic fraud is not just an African or a West African issue but a global phenomenon. He cited studies that revealed 54 per cent of consumers in the European Union said they are most likely to come across misleading/deceptive or fraudulent advertisements or offers on the Internet.

On the regional roaming service, the WATRA Chairman said the Assembly has the vision of a ‘Digital ECOWAS’ where improved sub-regional roaming regulation can help to facilitate an economic integration in the region.

“Our citizens, traders and companies will trade better when they can use their telephones to call contacts in other ECOWAS countries and when they can use their data subscriptions at no extra cost while travelling or doing business within the region. So, reducing and eventually eliminating the cost of roaming will also be a very significant contribution towards boosting trade within the region,” Danbatta said.

The EVC expressed satisfaction at the level of collaboration among national regulatory authorities in the sub-region on the one hand; and between WATRA and ECOWAS, to achieve a common goal, on the other hand, describing such synergy as a great indicator of progress and internalisation of best global practices.

“I am very pleased to see the excellent collaboration and the sharing of workload between the telecommunications body and personnel within ECOWAS and WATRA. Their roles have become complementary and mutually reinforcing-policies legislative frameworks that have been designed at the ECOWAS level, while WATRA does the follow-up work of information-sharing, dialogue and learning dispersal amongst regulatory authorities. It is indeed becoming a well-articulated symphony,” he added.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Executive Secretary of WATRA, Aliyu Aboki, emphasised the value of a trusted digital economy to any nation. He cited a study by Accenture, which concludes that “a trusted digital economy would stimulate 2.8 per cent additional growth for major firms, with the new transactions generated totaling $5.2 trillion of value creation in the economy,” hence, the establishment and operationalisation of national and regional anti-fraud committee.

Aboki commended ECOWAS for “allowing this regional sharing of the enormous task of building Digital ECOWAS to work very well through WATRA, which is a regional manifestation of this collaborative structure”. The WATRA Chief restated that WATRA, as a mechanism for regional regulatory collaboration, will work in unison and ensure its vision is speedily executed by making sure that no nation in the region is left behind.

Speaking at the forum, the Acting Director, Digital Economy and Post, ECOWAS, Raphael Koffi, noted that while e-fraud in the provision of communication services has always been an issue being collectively tackled, variance in termination rates agreed in commercial roaming agreements has also constituted an obstacle to harmonization of roaming tariffs which, he said, collaboration between WATRA and ECOWAS is set to achieve.

Participants at the event were updated on the status of the implementation of the Removal of Surcharges on International Traffic (SIIT) on ECOWAS countries;  establishment of a uniform tariff cap for roaming call termination in the ECOWAS region, among others.

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Kano closes hospital where a doctor performs multiple surgery alone

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Kano State Private Health Institutions Management Agency (PHIMA) has shut down Green-olives Hospital, Gadon kaya, Gwale local government area.

KANO FOCUS reports that the hospital was indicted for professional misconduct and poor service.

A statement issued by the spokesperson of the agency Abba Dalha said the agency has received a petition that the facility has recorded two death cases in the last six months.

After thorough investigation, the agency found that, the hospital do not undertake proper investigation nor issue consent form to patients before conducting a surgery.

According to the statement the surgeon is found to be to be doing the task of anaesthetic nurse, peri operative nurse and assistant surgeon which is grossly unethical.

The statement added that the surgeon is not inclined to any speciality of surgery as one of the recorded death case was a Paediatric surgery to three year old child, while the second death was Obstetrics and gynecology surgery.

The Agency threatened to deal with the culprit in accordance with it’s   guidelines and appealed to people to report quacks and professional misconduct for appropriate action.

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