By IHIDERO Victor Osae, Kaduna
KADUNA – A Coalition of organised private sector organisations, civil societies and consumer rights advocacy group on Wednesday stormed the streets of Kaduna calling on the leadership of the National Assembly to pass the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill before it in the benefit of consumers in the country.
In an advocacy-walk organized to enlighten the public on the provision of the bill, the coalition group noted that the bill, which has passed through second reading in the National Assembly, is aimed at creating a level playing ground for businesses, enterprises, business-oriented non-government organizations and stakeholders at all levels.
Speaking to journalists in the advocacy rally, Lawal Abdulkadir said “in the business circle, we know that industries, businesses and companies operate at different levels. Some are small scale, some are medium and some are large scale. Therefore, at those levels the wherewithal is not the same. This competition bill aims to create a level playing field to all businesses across various sectors of the economy.
“One of the objectives of this bill, is to manage pricing that will benefit both large and small scale businesses. It is possible that a large business can strike out smaller and medium scale businesses by simply crashing out the prices in the market; and all they need to do is to slash their prices and at the lower level, small scale businesses will not have any chance to compete at all. The bill tries to address this.
“Generally, businesses are able to compete fairly; consumers are able to get the value for their money. The economy in general is going to be improved and everybody is able to make a choice in the market because there are different products and the prices are right, competitive and businesses have the freedom to choose with nobody forcing them to buy a particular product at a higher price.
“For consumers, nobody will give them a product that is not the right quality. The bill adequately protects consumers; they can buy what they want and if any of the industries or companies are trying to outsmart consumers, there is an appropriate forum that can complain to and they will be heard. As the situation is now, there is no place they can go to because this bill has not come into effect. Like I said, it has passed through the second reading at the national level, but at the state level, awareness is being propagated right now and we expect that the information will flow to every consumer.
Commenting on the state of the bill in the National Assembly, Lawal Abdulkadir of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria stated that efforts are being made to scuttle the passage of the bill. “We know the advantages of putting this bill in place. A bill that has scaled through the second reading in the National Assembly is long overdue. We believe the passage should be speed up; but it looks as if the whole exercise is going into the limbo and we don’t want that. That’s why we are advocating for the speeding up of the bill at the federal level,” he said