By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Communications Fee (NCC) and other telecoms regulators beneath the auspices of West African Telecoms Regulators Assembly (WATRA) are established to create specialized and regulatory modalities to beat the growing wave of cyber-related frauds in the African sub-region.
This is as the regulators look for to realize the standardisation of roaming tariffs amid member-states of the Financial Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
This followed a two-working day conference organised by WATRA in collaboration with the bloc which was attended by reps of telecoms regulators from nations across West Africa.
According to a statement signed by NCC’s Director General public Affairs, Mr Ikechukwu Adinde, the forum supplied a system for important members and stakeholders to deliberate on making a unified industry in telecommunications solutions in West Africa, to battle roaming and cyber-linked frauds, and reach the standardisation of roaming tariffs amongst ECOWAS member-states.
Addressing stakeholders at the assembly, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, who is also the Chairman of WATRA, underscored the centrality of the meeting by emphasising that, as businesses transfer on the internet, the fraudsters are also going electronic.
Mr Danbatta, who was represented by NCC’s Director, Specialized Requirements and Community Integrity, Mr Bako Wakil, reported, based mostly on this reality and in buy to give West African citizens and businesses the assurance to fully just take advantage of the huge gains of Data and Communications Technologies (ICT), there was a will need for regulators to tame and outpace the fraudsters.
“About 75 per cent of trade in ECOWAS is casual, and consequently badly recorded. Therefore, digitising this trade by way of using several varieties of digital payments is a important action to formalising, governing and boosting intra-ECOWAS trade routines.
“Our ambitions are to formalise informal trade, which includes agricultural commodities as perfectly as boosting intra-regional trade and this demands us to strengthen collaboration on combating electronic fraud,” Mr Danbatta reported.
The NCC EVC knowledgeable the delegates to the discussion board that electronic fraud is not just an African or a West African situation but a international phenomenon.
He cited scientific studies that unveiled 54 per cent of people in the European Union explained they are most very likely to occur across deceptive/misleading or fraudulent ads or presents on the Web.
On the regional roaming assistance, the WATRA Chairman mentioned the Assembly has the vision of a Electronic ECOWAS where by enhanced sub-regional roaming regulation can help to facilitate financial integration in the location.
“Our citizens, traders and businesses will trade improved when they can use their telephones to get in touch with contacts in other ECOWAS nations and when they can use their details subscriptions at no excess cost whilst travelling or accomplishing business enterprise within just the area.
“So, decreasing and eventually doing away with the charge of roaming will also be a incredibly substantial contribution to boosting trade in the location,” Mr Danbatta extra.
The EVC expressed fulfillment at the degree of collaboration between national regulatory authorities in the sub-region on the one hand and involving WATRA and ECOWAS, to reach a typical intention, on the other hand, describing such synergy as a fantastic indicator of progress and internalisation of ideal global methods.
“I am really happy to see the excellent collaboration and the sharing of workload in between the telecommunications physique and staff inside ECOWAS and WATRA. Their roles have grow to be complementary and mutually reinforcing-policies legislative frameworks that have been created at the ECOWAS level, when WATRA does the follow-up do the job of details-sharing, dialogue and studying dispersal among regulatory authorities. It is certainly getting a effectively-articulated symphony,” he included.
On his section, the Executive Secretary of WATRA, Mr Aliyu Aboki, emphasised the benefit of a reliable electronic economic climate to any nation. He cited a review by Accenture, which concludes that “a reliable electronic economic climate would promote 2.8 for each cent more advancement for significant firms, with the new transactions generated totalling $5.2 trillion of worth generation in the financial state,” hence, the establishment and operationalisation of countrywide and regional anti-fraud committee.
Mr Aboki counseled ECOWAS for “allowing this regional sharing of the huge job of constructing Digital ECOWAS to get the job done quite nicely as a result of WATRA, which is a regional manifestation of this collaborative structure”.
The WATRA Chief restated that WATRA, as a system for regional regulatory collaboration, will work in unison and make certain its eyesight is speedily executed by building absolutely sure that no country in the region is left at the rear of.
Also speaking at the discussion board, the Performing Director, Electronic Economic climate and Submit, ECOWAS, Mr Raphael Koffi, noted that although e-fraud in the provision of interaction companies has normally been an concern getting collectively tackled, variance in termination rates agreed in commercial roaming agreements has also constituted an impediment to harmonization of roaming tariffs which, he mentioned, collaboration amongst WATRA and ECOWAS is set to accomplish.
Contributors at the occasion ended up updated on the position of the implementation of the Removing of Surcharges on Worldwide Website traffic (SIIT) on ECOWAS international locations institution of a uniform tariff cap for roaming contact termination in the ECOWAS area, between some others.