The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has asked for the support of professional associations in Nigeria to tackle the menace of consumer abuse.
Addressing members of different professional associations recently in Lagos, the Director General of the commission, Babatunde Erukha, said the commission understood that the major wish of consumers is to get value for money on products and services. He said, as regulators, there was need to partner various professional bodies to help the consumers achieve their aims.
“Our objective is to have an aligned objective with professional associations because, when you have a similar objective, the operation will be seamless and that in itself is fundamental reason for engagement.”
According to him, “Making it in business is a matter of law, but law requires fundamental engagement. There is a new space for the law which is well captured in the consumer protection law, and for the first time, we are having an independent legislative frame work for managing competition.
“Who are best set of people to discuss competition? That’s why your partnership with us is very important. From the competition standpoint, we want to create a level playing ground where both the big and small businesses can strive.
“From the consumer protection standpoint, we want some sense of a uniform standard that will be satisfactory to consumers. And not only satisfactory to consumers, but that will, in itself, be a level playing ground for your members.”
While taking them through the law governing the council, he stated that, Section 17A of the law enshrined that, “the commission will be responsible for the administration of this act, and any other enactment with respect to competition and information of consumers.
“So, I believe you have internal regulations on how to protect consumers, and it is our responsibility to enforce such regulations. The law we read in section 17a talked about any other enactment, so even if it does not talk about consumer but the right thing to do as practitioners, we have the right to enforce such regulations.”
Citing the example of a pharmacist, he said, “If pharmacists have a code on how to conduct themselves when something goes wrong, the commission has the statutory responsibility to enforce, even when the association decide not to enforce it.”
He further disclosed that the forum was initiated to formulate partnership.
“As an association, you should have standard, and you should not accept anything below your standard. This will also help in tackling the problem of quackery among you,” he added.
Responding, representative of various groups, who spoke one after the other admitted that the meeting was necessary to address salient issues that concern consumer abuse in the country.