Implications of the Newly Signed Competition, Consumer Protection Act

Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act.

With the signing of the act, consumers of various goods and services could now heave a sigh of relief.

This is because such laws would ensure that businesses disclose detailed information about products especially in areas where safety or public health issues are concerned, these include food, drinks and drugs.

Under the act, unfair and misleading practices as well as certain agreements that impede competition are punishable offenses.

It strips the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, of its power to approve mergers, placing the responsibility of approving merger transactions on the competition commission.

The law among other things will promote economic efficiency, maintain competitive market in the Nigerian economy as well as, protect the interest and welfare of consumers by providing consumers with wide variety of quality products at competitive prices.

The act also establishes Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal to handle issues and disputes arising from the commission.

It is worth mentioning that, with adequate consumer protection mechanism, citizens would be able to make better and informed choices.

Apart from benefiting the consumer, Director General, Consumer Protection Council, Mr. Babatunde Irukera noted that the law would promote economic competitiveness in the country.

He stressed that the act would also deepen the framework for encouraging and supporting small and medium scale businesses.

In line with the new law therefore, manufacturers and providers of goods and services should ensure that consumers get value for their money.

Any organization or individual found culpable would be made to face the wrath of the law, hence, the need to ensure international best practices in the production of goods and services.

The Consumer Protection Council, CPC, which is the apex consumer agency in Nigeria, and the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, and the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, should synergise in ensuring that citizens are protected.

Consumers on their part should know that they have the right to report companies or manufacturers that use substandard products.

There have been instances where manufacturers use low quality materials in making appliances in order to maximize profits without regard to the health and safety of consumers.

These defective products often endanger people’s lives and also cause loss of property.

Filing complaints against such products would no doubt stop such manufacturers as well as, ensure that compensation is paid to those who suffer any loss.

Above all, it is pertinent that consumers get real value for products purchased and need not worry about safety concerns.

Anthonia Akanji

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