-Consumer rights day celebrated

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Consumer rights day celebrated

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Livingstone, March 20, 2013 ZANIS———–Southern Province Deputy

Permanent Secretary Douglas Ngimbu says consumer protection is a vital

element in efforts aimed at promoting growth in the Zambian economy

and empowering citizens.

 

Mr. Njimbu said government will  continue to foster cooperation among

sector regulators in order to make them work more effectively and

efficiently for the benefit of consumers.

 

He noted that for a long time now consumers have been given a raw deal while

their rights are trampled upon adding that it was now time for justice to prevail.

 

“Everyday consumers in Zambia have their rights violated. Sometimes it

is out of ignorance of the traders or the consumers but many times, it

is due to the deliberate conduct by business owners”.

 

Mr. Ngimbu said this in Livingstone today during commemoration of

Consumer Rights day which was held under the theme: “Consumer Justice

Now”.

 

He said it was imperative for laws to be enforced effectively to

prevent traders from undermining responsible businesses, promoting

unfair practices and undermining consumer’s confidence to exercise

choice sensibly.

 

Mr. Ngimbu charged that consumer protection bodies should not be

allowed to degenerate into store houses of inaction where processing

of complaint papers were delayed.

 

“Consumer protection bodies should not be allowed to degenerate into

store houses of inaction where papers do not move from one desk to

another leaving the common man helpless, bewildered, and shocked, with

nowhere to turn for justice,” he said.

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He called on consumers not to tolerate or accept to be subjected to

poor services regardless of which sector or body they dealt with.

 

Meanwhile, Mr. Ngimbu said he was aware consumers had in the past

complained that despite various legislations and policies permitting

the state to intervene and protect the interests of consumers, the

enforcement machinery had been ineffective.

 

“Let me assure you that my government is already in the process of

reviewing various pieces of legislation and policies addressing these

challenges with the aim of strengthening consumer protection,” he

said.

 

And speaking earlier, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO)

representative Derrick Mudenda was pleased to note that the right to

safety was being addressed through section 52(1) of the Competition

and Consumer Protection Act.

 

Mr. Mudenda however, stated that more needed to be done to enhance the

right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to be heard, the

right to consumer education and the right to a healthy environment.

 

He said he was hopeful commemoration of Consumer Rights Day would not

be the end of consumer awareness.

 

And in moving a vote of thanks Livingstone Town Clerk Vivian Chikoti

appealed to  stakeholders in the city to adhere to the law by ensuring all

buildings were accessible to persons with disabilities.

 

Ms Chikoti said the local authority would take the lead by ensuring

the current council offices, the new town centre market currently  under

construction and the Intercity bus terminus provided facilities that

were user-friendly to persons with disabilities.

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