Panafrican News Agency

Congolese consumers regret the lack of legal framework for their protection

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - The Congolese Observatory for Consumer Rights, on Monday in Brazzaville, deplored the lack of a legal framework for consumer protection, saying that the quality of products and services of everyday consumption in Congo remains worrying, according to the executive secretary of the Congolese Observatory for Consumer Rights, Mermans Babounga Ngondo.

He said this situation reflects the lack of strong leadership by the authorities to improve consumer protection.

He deplored the absence of a law on consumer protection and the regulation of competition; the poor quality of customer service provided by companies and other traders; the fiscal pressure exerted by the tax authorities on consumers through the institution of new taxes; and the non-application of measures protecting consumers such as the ban on the sale of foodstuffs on the ground.

"We advocate for the adoption of the two draft texts on consumer protection and competition regulation; the establishment of frameworks for consultation between consumer associations and public administrations, but also between businesses and consumer associations in order to work together to improve the state of consumer rights in the Republic of Congo," said Ngondo, on the occasion of the World Consumer Rights Protection Day, celebrated every year on 15 March.

The observatory plans to organise, on 20 March, in collaboration with the network of consumer associations, a conference-debate on the state of consumer rights in Congo: ''Constraints and challenges''.

This meeting will enable them to raise awareness among stakeholders, including public authorities and the private sector, on the situation of consumer rights. The initiators will launch a plea for better consumer protection.

Consumer rights have been recognised by the United Nations as a specific right in their own right through a resolution (039/248 adopted in April 1985 and revised in December 2015).

This resolution set out guiding principles, including the fair and equitable treatment of consumers; commercial practices; transparent disclosure of information; education and awareness-raising; protection of privacy; and the handling of complaints and disputes.

These standards are based on the right to security; the right to information; the right to education; the right to choose; the right to be heard; the right to redress; the right to a healthy environment; and the right to basic social services.

This year's World Consumer Rights Day is under the theme of "Sustainable Consumption".

-0- PANA MB/IS/MTA/VAO 16March2020