Telcos must protect, respect consumer rights -Minister

Some participants at the forum

Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communication and Digitalisation, has entreated telecommunication companies to prioritise the protection of consumer rights in line with their operations.

According to her, the consumer had the right to complain and seek redress, for which she urged the telcos to intensify links with their agencies to become successful. Speaking at a public forum organised by the National Communication Authority (NCA) to seek public inputs in their operations, she said the forum was a requirement of Act 775 Section 26 to ascertain public opinion on their performance and users experience.

The theme for the forum was: “Ensuring Safe and Secure Telecommunications Environment for the Consumer”.

Mrs. Ekuful disclosed that data users increased transactions during the pandemic, which improved economic transformation.

She stated that capacity building was key to the government as to how to use data through the digital transformation system, as it continued to invest heavily to expand coverage.

She further tasked the telcos to ensure that the consumer was protected as they expected the consumer to go digital, and urged them to utilise digital service in a safe manner and secured environment to protect privacy.

The Minister disclosed that about 12 million Ghanaians had so far registered their sim cards and linked to their Ghana Card, and entreated those who were yet to register their sim cards to do so before the deadline at the end of July this year, because there would not be any extension of the date for the registration exercise.

Mrs. Ekuful said the Cyber Authority, which was inaugurated in October 2021, was the lead agency set up to build a resilient digital ecosystem to deter cyber crime and safeguard the activities of the consumer online. And it worked closely with all the security agencies, the National Information Technology Agency, and the Data Protection Commission among others.

The Communications Minister also underscored that they were all working with the NCA to create a safe, secure and enabling environment for effective use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and protect the privacy of individuals.

She charged the joint Cybersecurity Committee, comprising all the agencies to work closely with the private sector and academia to implement policies and programmes that will ensure our collective cyber security.

The Minister revealed that the SIM Card Registration Exercise is one of the consumer centered initiatives which has the key objective of creating a safe and secure environment for the consumer to be able to use communication services without the slightest fear  of any cyber attack.

Mr. Joe Anokye, Director- General of National Communication Authority, at the forum charged the public to report when they see people tampering with communication infrastructure to avoid fibre and other gadgets stolen from the masts and towers and thus protect the quality of network service.

He disclosed that, the purpose of the forum was not to only satisfy the requirements per the Electronic Communication Act 775 Section 26, which mandates the Authority to hold periodic public Forum, but it is also their vision that, the forum will assist in improving the standards of consumer information and education, prohibit certain unfair marketing practices and promote responsible Consumer and Operator behavior among others.

He stressed that, for the NCA and the Telecommunication industry, the consumer is an indispensable stakeholder for which his concerns must be addressed to safeguard functions of the Telecommunications eco-system.

The Director-General disclosed that, over the past three decades, the number of mobile voice subscriptions has gone from a few hundred thousand in 1996 to more than 40 million as at the second quarter of 2022 which he said means the NCA has a lot of consumers to attend to.

He indicated that since the establishment of the NCA its main focus has been to enable connectivity and protect its constituents.


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