CPC, AFBTE to develop compensation code for consumers

Elizabeth Christopher, Abuja

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) have agreed to raise a technical committee to develop a mutually acceptable compensation code to address consumer abuse.

The decision to set up the technical committee after a courtesy call of the association on the new Director General of CPC, Mr. Tunde Irukera, at the Council’s headquarters in Abuja.

Mr. Irukera observed that the code would modify the attitude and responses of the 100 industries that are members of the association to complaints of aggrieved consumers in the sector.

“The reality is that we have an aggressive consumer protection agency which frankly, we must have, regardless of whatever approach one must take to protect the consumer and we have a responsibility to protect the consumer, to the extent of coming up with an approach that is in the interest of those consumers,” he said.

“So having to use a compensation policy as an example, if a consumer were to complain about a product, claiming that it made him ill, we could obviously come together and work with an acceptable methodology that would be fairer and more predictable across the board, rather than when a complaint occurs and gets out of hand.

If we work together, we can come up with something that would be acceptable across the board and you can go and percolate it as a kind of voluntary guide, and whoever doesn’t want to abide by it, that’s ok, but at least we should have something that we can work with. And in that regard we will be happy to work with you on mutually acceptable implementations and come up with key issues in respect to consumer protection,” he added.

Mr. Irukera said the Council would be willing to collaborate effectively with the association because of its widespread influence in almost every home.

“Certainly, one thing the Council will want to promote is consumer confidence. We want consumers to be confident of choices they make and the products they consume. It will be helpful also when there are issues to work on to recognise that we are on the same page with respect to brand confidence. That flows from the point I want to make with respect to fake products, we can approach that in a collaborative way in the sense that we would like to protect the integrity of your brand so that we are sure consumers are getting the right products”, he added.

Earlier, the AFBTE’s President, Mr. Fred Chiazor, appealed to the Council’s to collaborate with the association with a view to getting faster and deeper enforcement of consumer protection regime in the sector.

“Our major plea is that if there are issues that come up as time goes on, that we be notified immediately through our association. We want to help the CPC to succeed. We are usually very proactive and if there are areas you want us to work with you, we are ready to do that,” he said.

“Currently in some agencies, we have a joint committee where we look into issues jointly because we don’t believe in a police and criminal kind of relationship, and we are not saying we want to partner to make you overlook certain key things. No, we will do the right things,” Chiazor added.