Kavekotora tears into draft Consumer Protection Policy

19 Nov 2018 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 19 NOV (NAMPA) – Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Member of Parliament, Mike Kavekotora said the draft national Consumer Protection Policy misses the mark in protecting the poor and vulnerable members of society.
He said the content of the policy does not explicitly spell out how it intends to level the playing field in business, in spite of the “unfair and deceptive practices” directed at the poorest and the most vulnerable members of society.
Kavekotora said this in his contribution to the draft National Consumer Protection Policy in the National Assembly on Thursday.
He noted that although in principle the policy is a welcome move, the policy document is defining a consumer broadly and is vague on who exactly it wants to protect.
The MP said the draft policy also does not offer mechanisms aimed at protecting the country’s economy and markets from unwanted and harmful products, and how illicit flows of these goods and services could be curbed.
He said it is therefore expected from the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to take a proactive approach to prevent these products and services from entering Namibian markets.
Kavekotora said the current world economic order of market globalisation and direct marketing through technology poses a challenge to efforts aimed at protecting consumers, adding that the draft policy is to a certain degree silent on how those challenges can be mitigated.
He was not convinced that the overarching objective of regulatory bodies is that of consumer protection, noting that such bodies are more concerned about regulating a specific industry as opposed to protecting the industries.
Kavekotora also raised concern with the format and structure of the draft policy, noting that it lacked cohesion and was often contradictory of itself.
He therefore urged for redrafting of the document and careful scrutiny for consistency and structure before it being resubmitted before Parliament.
“I have an issue with the content and format of this policy document. I am of the opinion that this document might have been drafted on Friday just a few minutes before 17h00 or ‘chaila time’. My humble request is for the minister to go to the drawing board and redo this policy,” he said.
The Consumer Protection Policy and legal framework aim to safeguard consumer interests and promote a fairer, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services, as well as establish national norms and standards to ensure adequate consumer protection.
It will, among other objectives, give guidelines for improved standards of consumer information that will prohibit unfair marketing and unfair business practices.