Implement existing laws to protect consumers
A leading Public Policy think tank and Consumer Protection organization, CUTS International, Accra is urging various regulators to implement existing regulations to protect the rights and welfare of consumer in the absence of a comprehensive and functioning Consumer Protection Policy and Law in the country.
Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, the West Africa Regional Director for CUTS, made this call at meeting, organized by his outfit in partnership with University of Professional Studies (UPSA) Law Faculty, to mark World Consumer Rights Day in Accra.
Mr Adomako intimated that, it is evidently clear that the absence of Consumer Protection Law in the country has contributed to the widespread and deliberate abuse of consumer rights.
“In the absence of the functional consumer protection law, it is imperative that sectoral regulators to step out their regulatory mandate to ensure that consumers in the country are not given a bad deal. The task for protecting Ghanaian consumers should be not reserved for a non-existent Consumer Protection Law. There are numerous provisions in existing laws and regulations which when implemented can inure to the protection of consumers from bad corporate practices.” he said.
Mr Adomako emphasized that consumer rights are like fundamental human rights which the state has to promote, protect and safeguard through the enactment of laws and its enforcement.
“Imagine, a consumer walks into a shop to buy an item and takes it home and changes his or her mind. In about 99% of scenarios in the country, the consumer will not be able to return it because the shop has clearly written: goods sold are not returnable although this is against the existing laws” he added.
Dr Franscica Kusi Appiah, a law lecturer at the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) underscored the importance of such meetings. She said ought to be empowered to know their rights in various provisions.
Various regulators including the National Communication Authority (NCA), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) highlighted what their respective organizations are doing to protect the welfare and right of consumers in the absence of the consumer protection law.
A Deputy Director, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, at the National Communication Authority, Mr Kwame Gyan underscored the measures the NCA has put in place to address consumer concerns in the telecommunication sector. He indicated that a special desk has been established to listen to consumer concerns and address them.
A manager with the Customer Unit at the National Petroleum Authority, Natasha Boakye also said that the Authority recently embarked on a nationwide campaign to sensitize consumers on the use of fire extinguishers and the various redress mechanics available to them. She also explained that the Authority often conducts random checks at filing stations across to the country to ascertain the quality of fuel sold to consumers.
“These exercises are conducted to ensure that Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) do not compromise on the quality of their petroleum products they sell to consumers and prosecute those that sell sub-standard fuel”, she added.
The Director of Legal at the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission, Mrs Nancy Atiamo also indicated that consumers rights and welfare is at the heart of what they do as a commission. They organize public education campaigns to enlighten consumers