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Introducing the Uganda ICT Consumer Protection Association (UICPA) PDF Print E-mail

Following a series of discussions on various mailing lists and especially on the I-Network ICT Mailing list for the past 2 to 3 years in regard to ICT services and products in Uganda, a few individuals decided to explore the idea of bringing together grieving ICT consumers. These individuals have now set up the Uganda ICT Consumer Protection Association. The association recognises the existing institutions and channels of dealing with consumer concerns and will work collaboratively with these institutions with the aim of improving ICT services and goods for the consumers.

From Internet services to voice services and all the way to hardware products, the situation is running out of control, and the few bodies mandated to protect consumers like the Uganda Communications Commission and the Uganda National Bureau of Standards seem to be overwhelmed by their wide mandates, limited budgets and inadequate human resources.

The association is membership based and membership is open to all ICT consumers and stakeholders. The association aims at achieving the following:

  • Providing a collective platform / voice through which ICT consumers concerns can be addressed, for example billing complaints
  • Addressing poor quality of voice and data services
  • Addressing ICT goods and services pricing irregularities that result in loss of money by consumers
  • Evaluating performance of the universal service fund under the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC).
  • Addressing the high failure rate of hardware, for example promotional mobile phones

As a start, the association has been duly registered and letters of introduction were sent out in February 2009 to various stakeholders informing them of the set up of the new association including Uganda Communications Commission, Ministry of ICT, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and Uganda Consumer Protection Association.

How will these aims be achieved?
The association will provide complementary activities and services to the already existing channels and institutions for addressing the above 5 issues. This will be done through 3 main approaches:

Awareness creation: The association shall carry out awareness creation and sensitisation activities within ICT consumers. This shall be aimed at making them more aware of their rights as ICT consumers, provide them with information on the channels and institutions that provide solutions and redress for complaints raised and above all work with service and goods providers to ensure that information regarding customer care, access, availability and reach are easily available and known by ICT consumers.

Advocacy: The association shall carry out advocacy for better, revised and new consumer laws as well as the upholding and consideration of ICT consumers in Uganda. The advocacy shall be based on the consumers’ experience and emergent issues that shall arise as the association carries out its aims. The advocacy activities shall also seek to get better terms from goods and service providers in the country to allow ICT consumers and providers enjoy mutual benefits.

Collective Voice: The association shall register and take note of issues, complaints and compliments from ICT consumers regarding ICT goods and services in the country. The association shall seek redress for ICT consumers on a collective basis where issues with service and goods providers have been reported to providers, relevant government authorities and yet no action has been taken. The association shall use its strength in numbers to seek for a solution for these issues.

The association shall provide a forum to ICT consumers to discuss and share information on issues affecting ICT consumers in the country. The association shall use this forum and the knowledge generated at the forum to carry out advocacy and awareness activities as part of the development of the ICT sector in Uganda.

For more information on the association and how it can help you please contact the association
Plot 53 Kira Road
Kamwokya Bukoto
Web: www.ictconsumer.or.ug

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