The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has disclosed that it has ordered redress up to the tune of N2.5 billion for consumers in 2016 as refunds and compensation in the resolution of their complaints on unsatisfactory services and products.
The Council’s feat was made known recently in Lagos during the public presentation of the agency’s 2016 Annual Report by the Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki.
The Director General disclosed that the N2.5 billion included foreign currencies of $31,948.87 and €1,406 recovered for aggrieved consumers, who complained to the Council.
According to her, financial services recorded the highest value of the total amount, while insurance and pensions had the least value.
She stated further that out of the 5,000 total number of complaints received in various sectors, 4,000 were resolved, while electricity/power and chemical and allied products sectors had highest and least number of complaints respectively.
Mrs. Atoki disclosed that under enforcement, the total value of substandard products removed from Nigerian markets was over N242.3 million with food and beverages taking the lion share of over N200 million and tobacco with the least value of about N300,000.
Further breakdown of the value of seized products showed that substandard products worth over N202 million were seized from malls, super and open markets, shops and warehouses, while the value of electrical and electronic products seized during the period is N40 million.
Shedding more light on the activities of the Council, the director general attributed the positive strides made by the Council during her administration, particularly in the year 2016, to the adoption of sectoral intervention and other initiatives.
She emphasized that “the sectoral intervention adopted in the strategic plan enabled such result and provided speed and spread to consumer redress”.
She asserted that the achievements highlighted in the annual report “is a reflection of the work we have done to promote and protect the interest of Nigerian consumers”, pointing out that when she assumed office in May 2013, “consumer abuse in virtually all sectors was pervasive”.
The CPC boss said, due to the huge consumer abuse in virtually all sectors of the economy, “the Council in developing its 2013-2017 strategic plan, identified a tripod stand for a fast track delivery of its mandate via sectoral intervention, enhanced consumer awareness and collaborations with other sector regulators”.
Mrs. Atoki, who said the Annual Report has highlighted most significant achievements and interventions of the Council for the year 2016, disclosed that the organisation deployed the sectoral intervention strategy in the satellite television service, food and beverage with particular reference to the beer industry, banking, hospitality, aviation and electricity sectors.
She explained that the intervention of the Council in satellite television service, focused on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, out of which consumers have been enjoying improved services, while its action in the hospitality sector focused on the VIP Express Tourism Limited with its Order for the refund of over N25 million to over 60 of the company’s subscribers because of exploitative service.
Mrs. Atoki also pointed out that the Council’s intervention in “telecommunication and food & beverage is to safeguard advert/promo/information that are deceptive or misleading”, stating that “in this wise, the foremost provider of telecommunication service in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd came under investigation for deceptive promo” that led to the Council’s Order for balance payment of N1.85 million to a consumer who was earlier paid N150,000 as against the N2 million winning prize.
On consumer education, the director general said more attention was given to grass root sensitization in addition to the Council’s impactful weekly Television and Radio programmes, which generated a combined consumer awareness weekly outreach of 120 million consumers, in terms of viewership and listenership respectfully.
On the on-line platforms, Mrs. Atoki disclosed that the visibility of the Council has also grown considerably as “evident in the increase the Council has noticed in its social media followership and website visits”.