Monday, April 9, 2012
Consumer Protection Bill in the Offing
A new law to protect and promote a fair, safe and informed market place on which the rights and welfare of consumers are fully protected will soon be effected in the Gambia.
Mr Alhagie Tamu Alieu Njie, chairman of the recently launched Consumer Protection Consortium, has disclosed that they have recently initiated a draft bill on consumer protection, which will address issues of consumer rights and welfares.
“When this comes into law, there will be sufficient recognition to deal with consumer welfare and protection,” Mr Njie said while presiding over the official launching of the Consumer Protection Consortium (CPC), formed by various consumer protection associations in the country, held on 7 April at the KMC Multipurpose Centre in Kanifing.
However, he said the law cannot do what it supposes to do when it is not enforced. Therefore, he said, the launching of the CPC is a step in the right direction as it will create awareness of some of the issues in the consumer protection exercise when it is passed.
The Act, when it comes into being, will set out ground rules covering most consumer transactions. It will also prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace.
The proposed Act will protect the consumer against unfair trade practices, empower them to seek redress against unfair trade practices, and also protect them from unscrupulous exploitation.
Commenting on the CPC, Mr Njie said it is set up mainly to coordinate consumer organizations thus striving for the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of the consumers.
He affirmed that the development was a significant milestone in the country’s economic liberation which when developed will enhance developmental aspirations of the people.
He recalled that the government has launched series of programmes aimed at the economic development of the people.
“In 2007, the government recognised the need to pass the Gambia Competition Act,” he said. However, he noted that the Competition Act only protects the competitors and not the affairs of consumers. This is what necessitates the creation of a bill that protects the rights and welfare of consumers also.
Also speaking on the occasion, the Chief Executive Officer of Kanifing Municipal Council, Mustapha Njie, said: “It is a good thing that consumers are made to see things through the same lenses and better still for there to be an organ to coordinate the common interest of consumers in a global market plagued with so much inequity and unfair trade.”
He called on the consumers to be united in their efforts, and assured the CPC of the Municipality’s support in the interest of the masses.