In spite of the considerable stability and growth of the Ghanaian economy over the last two decades, we continue to stumble in the areas of consumer protection and rights because of a lack of well coordinated legislative regime that offers protection for patrons and consumers of critical services and goods.
The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has in the recent been at the fore front advocating for improvement in policies and legislations that seeks to help deliver protection for the rights of the customer and consumer of goods and services ultimately.
Though some legislation passed over the last decade offer some level of protection for consumers, these protections are scattered in different ways with either no enforcement or limited enforcement mechanisms by regulators. The effect is low levels of compliance by producers and service providers that expose the consumer to a lot or risk.
The CPA working with the support of stakeholders including the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), Ghana Standards Authority, Environmental Protection Agent, Police, National Road Safety Commission, Traders Associations among others has been advocating for the passage of the Consumer Protection Law to among others establish a Consumer Protection Commission to ensure the protection of life, health and safety of consumers.
Kofi Kapito, the Chief Executive of the Consumer Protection Agency says, ‘Consumers have been taken for granted for too long. We have a duty to ourselves to improve service delivery and minimize the level of risks visited upon us. As a middle-income economy we must begin to do things differently. The way to proceed as far as the consumer is concerned is this bill and we kindly ask for support from the Ministry of Trade’
With the support of the Busac Fund, the CPA working with its stakeholders have submitted a draft bill to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The bill among others provides for the Establishment of a Commission with the power to investigate complaints made to it by persons who allege disadvantage in relation to the acquisition of goods and services.
The bill also provides for the; Duties of Goods and Service Providers and Consumers with a call for example on service providers to disclose certain critical information to the consumer prior to the payment for goods.
Another area of interest is the part on Misleading and Deceptive Conduct, False Representation and Unfair Practices among others that generally criminalizes misleading conduct on the part of providers of goods and services.
The bill ultimately enables the consumer to transact with confidence, protects reputable suppliers and consumers from inappropriate market conduct while providing for sound remedial procedures for those aggrieved by the conduct of others as far as the rights of providers and consumers of goods and services are concerned.
Regardless of our situation and status, we are all consumers at one point and need to be protected