Campaign to get consumer protection law passed gathers momentum

A nationwide campaign on www.change.org to get the National Consumer Protection Law passed has started across the country.

The campaign is gathering 20,000 electronic petitions  urging the president to prioritise passage of the Consumer Protection law this year.

Launching the campaign, Country Coordinator for CUTS Ghana – Mr. Appiah Kusi Adomako, called on Ghanaians both home and abroad to support the campaign. It is only through public support that the issue can be seen on the radar of the Executive and Parliament. He called for a strengthened media advocacy and public education to engage the attention of policymakers to prioritise the passage of a comprehensive National Consumer Protection bill, to replace the current fragmented ones.

Mr. Appiah Adomako was speaking as part of the activities to mark World Consumer Rights Day here in Accra.

Speaking on the theme for global celebration, ‘Making Digital Marketplaces Fairer’, he said the Day is meant to promote and protect the basic rights of all consumers; for instance, in areas such as ensuring the safety of their information; and in the financial sector address high interest rates, unfair contract terms on loans and mortgages, ATM Fees, hidden charges, security issues, privacy concerns, as well as high taxation and vast inequalities that exist.

In his keynote speech, Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Protection Agency Mr. Kofi Kapito said: “Over the past ten years, there have been various attempts by government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) to get into cabinet the draft Consumer Protection Law. Four presidents have come and gone, yet the progress has painstakingly been slow. It is discouragingly disheartening, the tro-tro pace at which government is handling the process. The seeming lack of interest in the law by government can be seen to have stalled the progress”.

Mr. Kapito  indicated the absence of consumer protection law makes it difficult to do consumer advocacy and consumer protection in the country. Because the country lacks the enabling laws for consumer protection, Ghana has literally become the junkyard for inferior goods. “As you make your way to shops across the country, one notice that you will come across is: goods sold are not returnable. For a manufacturer or merchant to say goods sold are not returnable, it means that the goods are inferior and are not fit for purpose. “

He added that though there are limited provisions in some legislations like the PURC Act 538, NCA 524, Act, and FDA that protect Ghanaian consumers, these provisions are scattered in over 40 statutes – and it is even difficult for a smart lawyer to find them.

“Neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon all have a Consumer Protection Law,” said Mr. Kofi Kapito.

He advised customers to boycott such facilities and their products, in order to mount pressure on those manufacturers and merchants to adhere to internationally acceptable standards.

The event was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI); Food and Drug Administration (FDA); National Petroleum Authority (NPA)’ Participatory Development Associates (PDA) and 31 media houses.