Home News Announcements Plans underway to establish dispute resolution committee by NCA

Plans underway to establish dispute resolution committee by NCA

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National Communications Authority (NCA)
National Communications Authority (NCA)

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has today published a Draft Guidelines for Dispute Resolution, seeking the input of Ghanaians to finalize on the creation of a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) to handle industry-related disputes.

The public have been given between today, March 20, and April 24, 2024 to read the guidelines and make their input ahead of the setting up a a seven-member DRC to handle mainly three forms of industry-related disputes.

A statement on the NCA’s website said the DRC will be set up with jurisdiction to settle various disputes between entities in the telecommunications industry, adding that the jurisdiction of the DRC applies to disputes:

  1. among different network operators or service providers;
  2. between network operators or service providers and a utility provider;
  3. between a network operator or service provider and a consumer.

The User Guidelines for the DRC, for which the NCA is seeking public input, serve as a comprehensive guide for all stakeholders in the electronic communications industry and provides a practical understanding of the operations of the Committee.

The invitation for public input is in pursuance of Section 4.1 of the National Telecommunication Policy (2005) and Section 5(h) of the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769).

Citizens who wish to make any input into the guidelines are therefore required to do so electronically via e-mail attachments in Microsoft Word format to info@nca.org.gh. All respondents are also requested to complete a response cover sheet, which is included in the draft guidelines document on this link.

“The NCA wishes to state that, in furtherance of transparency and openness, the Authority shall consider all responses as non-confidential. Stakeholders and the general public are entreated to review the User Guidelines and submit comments, if any, by the deadline stated. It is worth noting that the Authority will proceed with the implementation of the Guidelines if no comments are received,” it said.

The nine-page draft guidelines has ten sections in total, comprising of the following:

  • Introduction
  • Scope of the DRC’s jurisdiction
  • Submission of disputes to the DRC
  • Dispute Resolution Process
  • Appeal Process
  • Time frame for DRC proceedings
  • Stakeholder rights and responsibilities
  • Lawyers and other representatives’ duty to the DRC
  • Confidentiality
  • Feedback and Claims

Some of the interesting provisions that relate to dispute between industry players and subscribers are as follows:

Under Section 2: Scope of the DRC’s jurisdiction – The DRC may only undertake settlement of a dispute between an operator and a subscriber where the subscriber has first made a reasonable effort to resolve the issue or complaint through the Complaint Handling Procedures of the provider of the electronic communications service or network operator.

Then under Section 3: Submission of Disputes to the DRC – If a consumer decides to file a claim with the DRC, he or she must file two (2) copies of the claim and pay the applicable fees. After filing the claim, the Claimant must ensure the Registrar serves copies of the claim on the Respondent(s).

The requirement to pay dispute application fee and the burden being placed on a complainant to ensure that the respondent is served, threatens to put a lot of individual subscribers off accessing the services of the DRC, if the guidelines are approved as is.

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