Ghana to have a consumer policy by next year – Trade Minister

GNA, November 04, 2009

Ms. Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, on Tuesday hinted that Ghana will by 2010 have a consumer policy in place to ensure efficiency in the provision of goods and services.

The consumer policy will also facilitate the enactment of a competition law to further protect the rights of a consumer and present people with choices in terms of patronizing goods and services.

Ms. Tetteh said this at a meeting organized by the Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) in collaboration with the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International, an Indian based non-governmental organization that focuses on promoting consumer protection, human development and trade issues.

The meeting dubbed: “National Reference Group,” discussed consumer welfare issues and the need for a national advocacy agenda on the competition law.

Ms. Tetteh noted that the government had already set up a tariff advisory board that would among its duties receive complaints from the general public, study the complaints and assess the evidence that would inform their decisions in the formulation of international trade laws.

“In all these issues, the government will ensure that Ghanaian businesses are not disadvantaged,” the Minister said.

The National Reference Group is made up of members from the Ghana Standards Board, Food and Drugs Board, the media, Bank of Ghana and officials from ISSER.

Dr. Charles Ackah, Senior Research Fellow at ISSER, pointed out that majority of Ghanaians were ignorant of rules or laws that checked anti-competitive behaviour and people also did not know which agencies or institutions to report to should they encounter any consumer issues.

He said most journalists also lacked the training needed to appreciate competition issues therefore such issues were usually not highlighted in the media.

“A competition law in Ghana could play an important role in tackling some of the abuses at the marketplace,” Dr. Ackah said

Participants strongly supported the need for a national advocacy campaign on competition and consumer issues to improve economic development in Ghana.

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