The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it is concluding processes to issue the regulation on Electronic Waste (E-Waste) in the country.
Speaking at a Press Conference organised by the Commission to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) for the year 2021, Monday, the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta noted that the objective of the Regulation is to manage E-Waste; promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery; improve environmental management system of operators in the telecom industry; and reduce greenhouse emissions as well as enhance sustainable development efforts.
Prof. Danbatta noted that while the telecoms regulator is concluding processes to issue the regulation on Electronic Waste, it is mindful of the fact that many ICT and telecom devices have plastic components, whose waste materials could worsen plastic pollution. “In other words, we reckon that improper disposal of such disused ICT-plastic embedded products have grave implication on public health, and especially in achieving Goals 11, 12 and 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030. These goals speak to the imperative of adhering to practices that enhance Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production; as well as Climate Action respectively.”
This conference was conceived to highlight NCC’s commitment to protecting the telecom consumers and to highlight the regulatory role of NCC with respect to protecting the Rights of the Telecom Consumers and to connect it with the global significance of the day’s celebration.
The EVC noted that the NCC has tailored some of its initiatives to interconnect with the international consumer rights movement.
He referenced some of these initiatives to include the Commission’s declaration of 2017 as Year of the Telecom Consumer, in recognition of the central place the consumer occupies in the telecom ecosystem and in the emergent digital economy. Furthermore, in the same year, the World Consumer Rights Day focused on “Better Digital World”. The declaration by the Commission and the focus by WCRD 2017 emphasised the need to build ‘a digital world consumers can trust’.
He reeled out the focus of this year’s campaign: “Tackling Plastic Pollution”. “Activities and actions slated for this commemoration are to raise awareness and engage state and non-state actors on the global plastic pollution crisis. This is coming three years after the NCC drafted the Nigerian Communications Industry e-Waste Regulations in 2018.”
The Commission, worried by the recurrent cycle of fraudulent deployment of fake and substandard mobile devices, usually made of iron and plastic components, collaborated with the Office of the National Security Adviser and other relevant government agencies to inaugurate a committee to implement Mobile Devices Management Systems (DMS). This initiative is designed as a Public-Private Partnership aimed at combating the proliferation of fake, counterfeit, substandard and cloned communication devices in the telecommunications industry. The expected result of this initiative is that, only genuine materials malleable to enduring usage are available for consumer use.
The Commission also implemented a strict type-approval process that ensures all equipment used in the telecommunications industry are of suitable standard, both for the good of the consumers and for the preservation of our environment.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management, Barrister Adeleke Adewolu, said that as a consumer-centric organisation, the NCC aligns with all visions that call attention to concerns about consumer rights and the need to secure them, because the prosperity of any business or service takes life from its consumers and stakeholders.
He reiterated: “In 2017, NCC expressed unequivocal commitment to the centrality of the telecom consumer in the telecom ecosystem by declaring that Year as Year of the Telecom Consumers. Before then and after, we have been unwavering in our commitment to the primacy of the consumer in the architecture of telecommunications industry in Nigeria. For this reason, the NCC has received many awards, and we will not rest on our oars.
This also explains why we have organised today’s conference to recall policies, initiatives, programmes and activities of the Commission towards protecting the rights and addressing the concerns of the Nigerian telecom consumer.”
Barr. Adewolu explained that annually, as a rallying point, Consumers International, the global coalition of over 250 consumer advocacy groups and entities in more than 120 countries and territories, organise activities on 15th Day of the month March, with a thematic focus that calls attention to a topical issue of interest and concern to consumers in all regions of the world.
The NCC also used this year’s commemoration of the World Consumer Rights Day to unveil a new telecommunication Consumer Handbook, a compendium of consumer information materials compiled to enhance education and protection of the consumer.
Introducing the handbook, Chairman, industry Advisory Advocacy Forum (ICAF), Engr, Ighoovie Majemite, said: “This book is very informative and educative. It captured the necessary things consumers need to know in the telecommunication industry without ambiguity. Over the years NCC has created a veritable enabling environment for a robust telecommunication industry that speaks to good customer experience. NCC steadfastness in protection of the industry and consumers rights and privileges are not compromised.
The industry consumer advisory forum (ICAF) is an advisory body set up by NCC to look at thematic issues in the telecommunication business in Nigeria. ICAF bandies these thematic issues and advises on implementable resolutions that are forwarded to NCC management. ICAF has provided many implemented resolutions like DND, Porting of phone lines, unused Data rollover and others.