The consumer protection Agency (CPA) has cast doubt on the willingness of government to pass into law the consumer protection bill that aims to safeguard purchasers of goods and services from fraudulent business practices.
According to the CPA, successive governments have been paying lip service to the passage of the bill into law leaving consumers with very little protection from misleading sales, requiring consumers to inspect all transactions themselves.
The bill which has been in parliament for nearly two decades seeks to protect, secure and defend the rights of consumers through a structured institutional mechanism and legal framework that will ensure that consumers play a significant role in keeping erring businesses in check.
Speaking at a news conference Wednesday in Accra to mark this year’s World Consumer Day, Chief Executive Officer of Consumer Protection Agency, Kofi Owusu Hene aka Kofi Capito noted that though the bill was a manifesto promise of the New Patriotic Party government, the Akuffo Addo led government has failed to honor that promise after more than six years in government.
“In 2017 we had hopes for the bill to be passed since this time it had been made a manifesto promise by the ruling government and yet could not find the light of day till the 2020 parliament also ended”.
Kofi Capito expressed little faith in the current parliament to do justice to the bill by passing it into law to help “vulnerable” consumers who he described as “voiceless and have no one to hear their plea when seeking redress”.
“In 2013 the CPA through the support of some NGO’s drafted a proposed bill and presented to the government for consideration and fine tuning it to be presented to parliament. However, after the first reading in parliament the bill could not see any improvement till the 2016 parliament ended”.
“The current parliament has just a lifetime of two years and for this bill to be passed before the end of this parliament that means a lot has to be done and that explains our pessimism,” he stated.
Kofi Capito though pessimistic about passage of the bill, he was however elated that care-taker minister of trade and Industry, Samuel Abu Jinapor recently resurrected the conversation about the passage of the bill when he briefed parliament about government commitment to passing the bill into law.
But, Kofi Capito was uncertain if the newly appointed minister for trade and Industry, K.T. Hammond when approved by parliament will continue what has been started by the care-taker minister to see to the passage of the bill into law.
“We want to have a sincere believe in the care taker minister however we can’t say the same when the new appointed minister takes over and will have the same Optimism to pass the consumer bill which is well overdue”.
The theme for this year’s global celebration of the world consumer day is Empowering consumers through clean energy transitions.
Story by: Emmanuel Coffie/radiogoldlive.com