#Article (Archive)

More social protection is good news

Apr 10, 2014, 10:14 AM

he consumer protection bill passed by the National Assembly sitting in Banjul this week provides a much-needed social protection measure in our society.

We also reported in this newspaper that the food safety and quality Authority is inviting operators in the food business to register with the agency and be licensed.

It is evident that action on these two fronts will give more sense of security to the population.

The enactment of the consumer protection bill comes exactly 26 days after World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) 2014 was observed all over the world, including in The Gambia on March 15, 2014.

This year’s theme, “Fix Our Phone Rights” focused on mobile phones as an indispensable part of every citizen’s life and the issues and challenges that most affect every consumer of mobile services.

Mobile phones, we have learned, are now found in every country of the globe, with an estimated 6.6 billion users in 2013.

WCRD is organized annually by Consumers International (CI), the federation of independent groups that serves as global voice for consumers. Founded in 1960, it has more than 220 member-organizations in 115 countries, including The Gambia.

WCRD we understand was first set up by US President John F. Kennedy, in a speech before the US Congress on March 15, 1962 to address consumer rights and stress the importance of consumers as a group.

He extolled four basic rights - to safety, to choose, to information, and to be heard - which the United Nations (UN) in 1985 expanded with four more rights – to satisfaction of basic needs, to redress, to consumer education, and to a healthy environment.

CI adopted the consumer rights outlined by President Kennedy and the UN as a charter and started recognizing March 15 as WCRD to raise global awareness about consumer rights.

We want to suggest that a campaign should be set in motion to make consumers aware of the provisions of the new law, and the machinery to seek justice in case of grievances.

It is also importantthat once this machinery is in place, there is rigorous enforcement of the law, and that it does not suffer the fate of the fine laws we produced all these years, such as the anti-littering law, which nobody apparently pays heed to.

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”

Milton Friedman