The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) have raised a technical committee to develop a mutually acceptable compensation code to address consumer abuse in the sector.
Mr Tunde Irukera, CPC’s Director-General, said this in a statement by the Head of Public Relations, Mr Abiodun Obimuyiwa, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Irukera said the decision to set up the committee was reached during a visit of members of the association to the CPC headquarters in Abuja.
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.
“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.
“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.
“The methodology will be such that would be fairer and more predictable across the board, rather than when a complaint occurs and gets out of hand.”
He said if both organizations worked together, they could come up with something that would be acceptable across the board.
“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.’’
The CPC boss expressed the council’s willingness to collaborate effectively with the association because of its widespread influence in almost every home.
He said that professional and trade associations were perhaps the best partners as they could help reach more of their members than when one had to deal with individual members.
He said that he would always respect individual brands and their prerogative to protect themselves and emphasised that “integrity of your brand is also in the interest of Consumer Protection Council.
“This is because anything that affects the integrity of your brand also affects consumer confidence and 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”.
Irukera reiterated the importance of the association while emphasising that regulatory work was more effective when there was collaboration.
Earlier, the AFBTE’s President, Mr. Fred Chiazor, appealed to CPC to collaborate with the association to get faster and deeper enforcement of consumer protection regime in the sector.
According to Chiazor, “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”.
The AFBTE boss pledged the association’s commitment to abide by good ethics and ensure consumer protection and satisfaction.
The AFBTE currently has a joint committee in some agencies where it looks into issues jointly with the organizations as it does not believe in “a police and criminal kind of relationship’’.(