Our mission is to drive a new level of awareness for consumer rights by providing a forum for public engagement, collaboration, education and documentation of consumer sentiments and experience.
We intend to achieve this by managing this platform that would enable the Nigerian consumer journal their experiences while learning from the experiences of others. This platform would help with sensitizing the public about various gains as well as issues in the consumer space. We want
- goods and service providers to know what their customers really feel.
- consumers to be able to do research on goods and services before paying their hard-earned money.
- to create visibility on the various issues the people face today.
- to be able to accurately analyze progress or not in the sentiments of the Nigerian consumer for various sectors of the economy.
- to partner with various agencies of government already working in this area to make their work easier and more effective.
The state of the consumer reflects the health of the economy
In a 2015 social research carried out by members of our team at the Lagos office of the Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria, a number of findings were made that shows the challenges the Nigerian consumer faces in terms of their rights as consumers of goods and services.
Consumer Protection Council Act (1992)
In a bid to protect and enhance the interest of the Nigerian Consumer, the Nigerian government enacted and established the Consumer Protection Council Act No. 66 of 1992.
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Act, enacted in 1992 is the primary law in Nigeria which centers on a pragmatic approach to enforcement of consumer rights making the Act consumer focused. Section 6 of the Act provides that consumers can bring complaints where they have suffered a loss, injury or damage while Section 8 provides for opportunity for consumers to get redress which makes the Act adequate to meet consumer rights. [source : http://www.nials.edu.ng/index.php/2015-12-10-16-05-04/seminar/98-newsletter-the-role-of-the-nigerian-consumer-protection-council-act-in-protecting-consumers-of-fmcgs]
Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council of Nigeria
Though enacted in 1992, FCCPC Nigeria (formerly known as CPC Nigeria) was formally established in 1999 and in line with the Consumer Protection Council Act (CPCA) (Cap. 25, Laws of The Federation 2004), the agency is tasked with promoting and protecting the interest of consumers over all products and services. In a nutshell, it is empowered to
- eliminate hazardous & substandard goods from the market.
- provide speedy redress to consumer complaints and end the unscrupulous exploitation of consumers.
- educate consumers and champion consumer interests at appropriate forum.
- enforce all enactments aimed at protecting consumers.
The current Director General of FCCPC Nigeria is Babatunde Irukera who oversees the operations of all its offices in the six geopolitical zones of the country from the headquarters in Abuja.
From our research, we observed some key challenges faced by FCCPC as well as other Consumer-focused NGOs in safe-guarding the interest of the Nigerian consumer. The list includes but is not limited to
- Lack of funding – With as much as these agencies do, there is a strict budget allocation and as such they find themselves not always able to do as much as the consumer situation in the country demands.
- Scale – The sheer number of people coming to the agencies with complaints is simply overwhelming for an agency that is entirely non-profit. Nigeria is a large country with millions of consumers each with a different story to tell. It is almost impossible to have these agencies attend to each consumer complaints.
- Inability to enforce – The NGOs and government agencies for consumer protected were not established as enforcement bodies and as such there is a limit they can get to in protecting the Nigeria consumer.
- Lack of trust from the public – Many people have their distrust for Government agencies and are not naturally inclined to engage these offices. As such they suffer in silence or ignorance.
- Time taken for resolution – It usually take a while to complete a mediation between service providers and manufacturers and the aggrieved customer. During this period, some people just get discourage and give up standing with the agency in pursuit of remediation.
Conpulze seeks to partner with the struggle and vision in consumer protection vision by creating a free and open platform for integration of resources, documentation of experience, analysis of trends and dissipation of information so as to provide the public with ready information, statistics and analysis of trends and happenings in the consumer economy.
We want to bridge the feedback gap between goods and service providers with their customers. Customers who are happy with services should express their gladness so that others can learn from. On the other hand, customers who aren’t happy should express their sentiments publicly so that others including the providers can learn from it as well.
We consider ourselves partners with other agencies in this space in seeking to achieve a consumer-focused economy because we believe that the state of the consumer reflects the health of the economy.