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Consumer Protection critical for usage of communication services

Dr. Machengete addressing CRASA conference delegates
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Consumer Protection remains central for meaningful usage of communication services, Dr. Gift Machengete, the Director-General of the Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has said.

He made the remarks at the Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA)’s first Consumer Committee Meeting held at Cresta Lodge in Harare yesterday.

“As CRASA, we remain on top of the situation in terms of all the thematic areas we deal with, in this case, Consumer Protection. Ladies and Gentlemen, Consumer Protection remains central for meaningful usage of communication services. Without feeling safe and without being protected, Consumers will only use ICTs less, therefore, the work of the Consumer Committee in instilling trust and confidence in the use of ICTs cannot be over-emphasised.

“We need people to trust our e-commerce platforms, our e-health platforms, our IoT applications. We need people to trust drones and robots, trust actions performed through machine learning, decisions made through artificial intelligence, and guidance given through the use of algorithms. Trust will promote greater use of ICTs, which will enhance participation in the digital economy and promote economic growth,” Dr. Machengete said

In Zimbabwe, the meeting is taking place at an opportune time as the country has just fully operationalised its Data Protection Unit.

Dr. Machengete said the country is in the process of enhancing consumer protection efforts through collaborative regulation at national, regional, and international levels.

Accordingly, there are several working arrangements with other regulators including the Competition Commission, the Central Bank, the Consumer Protection Commission, the Research Council of Zimbabwe, and the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe as stakeholders believe in the whole of community collaborative regulation, across economic sectors, regions, and borders.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am sure, diverse minds here present will deliberate on various issues harbouring on consumer protection as well as take stock of what has been achieved by CRASA so far. We also hope deliberations will proffer suggestions and strategies that allow effective consumer protection, especially addressing emerging issues brought about by the technological evolution and new services, including data protection,” Dr. Machengete added.

 

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende