Government To Establish Consumer Protection Authority

Government is to establish an independent Consumer Protection Authority to implement policy and co-ordinate consumer activities in partnership with regulatory agencies and stakeholders.

The Authority is expected to assign roles to relevant bodies to ensure regular monitoring of the regulatory bodies.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, said this in a speech read on his behalf at the Stakeholders Consultation workshop in Accra on Wednesday.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the Consumer Advocacy Centre to deliberate on the draft Consumer Protection Bill.

Mr Iddrisu said the required funding for the Authority and its regional offices would be incorporated into the budget of the Ministry.

Meanwhile, Mr Francis Dadzie, Executive Director of the Advertisers Association of Ghana (AAG), has described the move to establish an Authority as inappropriate.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Dadzie said Ghana rather needed an Advertising Council with an ambit of providing training, regulation as well as licensing activities of practitioners and educational institutions which run courses on advertising and consumer protection.

He said a Consumer Protection Authority would concern itself with activities on consumer protection, a fraction of what the proposed council would do.

Mr Dadzie said the AAG had drafted a Bill that proposed the establishment of an Advertising Council with an omnibus responsibility that went beyond consumer protection.

He said the Attorney General’s Department had made input into the proposal and the Bill was currently at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Mr Dadzie said the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Information and Media Relations were expected to make a joint presentation to Cabinet on the draft Bill.

He said the AAG would have to consult the Ministry to prevent possible duplications which the establishment of a Consumer Protection Authority would create.

Mr Dadzie said; “This is a matter of internal consultation to ensure that we are on the same base.”

He pledged to draw the attention of participants to the proposed establishment of the Authority.

The participants, drawn from various sectors, are in Accra to make inputs into the draft Consumer Protection Bill.

The Bill, when passed into law, is expected to protect consumers from unfair trade practices which affect the health, safety and economic interests of consumers.

It would also address issues of substandard products and services in the Ghanaian market and guarantee a fair and sustainable environment for the citizenry.

The Consumer and Advocacy Centre (CAC) is a non-political and not-for-profit organisation established in September 2007 to help protect and empower consumers in Ghana.

The organization conducts consumer research, education and provides information to the public.