From: Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Director General of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, has advised businesses in the country to be responsive to consumer grievances and institutionalise and prioritise complaint resolution policies, which are the hallmark of company and brand reputation.
Irukera noted that the current regime was unsustainable as it was tantamount to government subsidising business, stating that the CPC should not substitute company customer care as a multi-company customer service desk.
Specifically, he opined that businesses have factored the cost of complaint resolution into their profitability and as such should not outsource it to the government, while underscoring the important role of the CPC in ensuring resolution that is fair and equitable.
The director general made the assertion at a roundtable with the Civil Society, Consumer Protection Associations (CPAs), Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) organised by the Council in Abuja.
He argued that “companies have both commercial and social contracts with consumers, which must be respected at all times. On the motive behind the round table forum, Irukera asserted that the Council was seeking effective partnership with the civil society for robust protection of consumers across our vast country.
According to him, “any credible and people-oriented leadership will embrace civil society and as such for me, an engagement with those in civil society is paramount”.
As part of the new engagement, he disclosed that the Council was implementing a more stringent registration process for CSOs, NGOs, CBOs and CPAs, explaining that the additional scrutiny is to ensure the integrity and credibility of both the Council and its partners.
Irukera, while fielding questions from reporters after addressing the session, said “the most important thing to achieve from the interaction was to let the civil society generally know that the council’s leadership believe that the shared burden of consumer protection is something that must be emphasised and highlighted to create a network for exchanging and ideas and direction.”
Also speaking at the event, the representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Professor Abimbola Uzomah observed that the work of consumer protection should not be left to the Council alone, emphasising that it was the responsibility of every Nigerian consumer to entrench a virile consumer protection in Nigeria.
Uzomah, who said market-place abuse has become so prevalent in Nigeria because of consumer apathy, commended the Council for organising the strategic engagement with NGOs, CBOs and other relevant stakeholders with the aim of extending consumer education to the grassroots.
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