CPC to tackle nation’s banks, others on frivolous charges
•Plans automation of complaints system
•To roll out consumer bill of rights
Nigerians may soon begin to have some reprieve from the plethora of unexplainable charges imposed by banks, telecommunications, and other service providers, as the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), plans to take on operators and regulators with a view to cutting down on these charges.
Banks and many other service providers indulge in imposing multiple charges on consumers, and even when such charges are established to be unnecessary they have continued with it, including charging customers for wishing them well on their birthdays.
Intimating senior journalists with his plans last week in Lagos, the Director General, CPC, Babatunde Irukera, also said the Council intends to automate its consumer complaints system, “to improve the mechanism for the social and financial contract between service providers and consumers.”
Irukera explained that the complaints automation system will make for better conflict resolution approach, as the Council plans to reform the market, noting that in brand and corporate issues, parties merely isolate the cases.
He said the Council is inundated with a whole lot of challenges, and as such decided to prioritise issues along sectoral lines including electricity, banking and finance, healthcare, telecoms, trade and commerce, and a host of others.
To this end, Irukera said the Council will, in 2018, roll out a Bill of Rights that will be translated in many languages, and will capture regulations on guarantees and warrantees, refunds, returns, and repairs and many others.
To get stakeholders buy-in, especially the regulators, he said the CPC is working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for the electricity sector; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for the financial services; the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), and Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria for healthcare.
Others are the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for telecoms; Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), for trade and commerce; National Agency for Food, Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), and many more to ensure they inject consumer issues in their regulations.
To support its efforts, the CPC boss said the Council had succeeded in getting the Federal Government “to recognise that protecting the consumer is a priority,” and therefore getting more support for its programmes.
In this regard, he disclosed that the Council’s capital and recurrent expenditures were increased by over 200 per cent in the 2018 budget proposals.
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