Consumer Protection For Customers of FMCG
Fast-moving consumers goods are products that are used frequently by consumers, sold more quickly and which are sold at a relatively low price. They include non-durable goods such as packaged foods, soft drinks, beverages, soaps toiletries, over-the-counter drugs and many other consumables. The importance of the FMCG can't be overemphasised as at least one FMCG is used in a household. Therefore there's a need to set in place an appropriate legislation to advocate for the protection of consumers from the harmful effects of these FMCG and also ensure speedy redress to consumers’ complaints.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Act of 1992 is the primary law in Nigeria which focuses on a pragmatic approach to enforcement of consumer rights making the Act consumer focused. Section 6 of the Act provides that consumers can bring complaints where they have suffered a loss, injury or damage while Section 8 provides for opportunity for consumers to get redress which makes the Act adequate to meet consumer rights.
In light of the need for the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to meet it's set objectives, the following agencies were established: the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), the Consumer Protection Council and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). We will explore their roles and responsibilities in the process of achieving their objectives:
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria
The Standards Organization of Nigeria was established by Act No. 14 2015(as amended). It's main objectives include:
1. To provide assurance to Nigerian consumers on products and guarantee value for money.
2. To ensure effective control of non-complying products in the Nigerian Markets
3. To promote a level playing field in the market for both locally manufactured and imported products and to
4. Protect genuine manufacturers and importers from product adulteration by ensuring that only certified products are in the markets in the long run.
Furthermore, the Organisation under the amended Act has been empowered to impose fees, fines or penalties on a person who contravenes any regulation of the agency.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC)
The CPC was established under Chapter C25, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as amended) and is committed to protecting and enhancing consumers’ interest through information, education and enforcement of appropriate standards for goods and services and to promote an environment of fair and ethical trade practices. The Consumer Protection Council is the government agency responsible for protecting consumers from unwholesome practices and assisting them in seeking redress for unscrupulous practices and exploitation. The agency encourages trade, industry and professional associations to develop and enforce quality standards designed to safeguard the interest of the consumer.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
Nafdac was established by Decree 19 of 1999 (as amended) under the Federal Ministry of Health. It is responsible for regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and packaged water.
NAFDAC ensures appropriate tests are conducted and compliance with standard specifications are maintained for the effective control of the quality of food, bottled water and the raw materials as well as the safeguarding of the production processes in factories and other establishments. The Agency undertakes appropriate investigations into production premises and raw materials for food and establishes relevant quality assurance systems including certification of the production sites. The role of the agency also includes the inspection of imported food facilities, to ascertain relevant quality assurance systems necessary for certification of the imported food product.
On the 1st of February, 2018, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria introduced a Product Authentication Mark (PAM) aimed at checking locally produced items and imported products. This is a sticker with security features and quick response code, which can be scanned by a smart phone. It is applied on each product to ensure traceability and demonstrate their conformity to approved standards.
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