The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has called on stakeholders in the digital finance sector to protect consumers from financial losses.
The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made the call at the 2022 World Consumer Rights Day, celebrated on Tuesday in Abuja.
Danbatta said the call was necessary because more persons were into banking, insurance and investment management digital services.
He said: “Fair Digital Finance, which is the theme of this year’s World Consumer Rights Day, called for stakeholders to do more in protecting consumers from losses.
“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.”
He added that in spite of the challenges, the commission would ensure more Nigerians had access to digital platforms.
He said with a robust infrastructure, the country would achieve over 80 per cent of 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.
The EVC revealed that the commission would soon 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 of this year’s celebration was apt because the increasingly high speed of digitalisation of financial services.
Akande said more inclusions had thrown up many challenges for consumers as they navigate the new financial services landscape.
The Country Director, Save the Consumer, Mr Aliyu Ilias, commended the NCC and urged it and other regulators to check and investigate activities of online loan providers nationwide.
The President, National Disability Empowerment Forum (NADEF), Dr. Christopher Nwanoro, applauded the NCC for its 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.