In order to promote economic efficiency, maintain competitiveness in the Nigerian market and protect the welfare of consumers, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, transforming it into the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2019.
The act repeals the Consumer Protection Act, Cap. 25, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014, to establish the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal for the development and promotion of fair, efficient and competitive markets in the Nigerian economy.
According to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Nigeria has promulgated the most prolific legislation for promoting consumer confidence, choice and fair pricing. By the same token, the law deepens the framework for encouraging and supporting small and medium-scale businesses by ensuring a level field that eliminates entry barriers and operational obstacles, which prevent sustainability and profitability.
The act establishes the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal to handle issues and disputes arising from the council and strips the Securities and Exchange Commission of its power to approve mergers, thus placing the responsibility of approving merger transactions on the Competition Commission.
Explaining the effects of the act, Mr. Babatunde Irukera of the CPC stated that, by the new law, the Federal Government has cemented the most needed, efficient and transparent framework for meaningful and credible disposition of public enterprises, expanding economic growth and ensuring shared prosperity. Noting that, as a leading market in Africa, vibrant competition was a key tool in reducing poverty, increasing value for money and ensuring customer satisfaction.
“This demonstration of fidelity to consumers and citizens while continuing to promote Nigeria as a leading destination for investment is an outstanding achievement, and a historic milestone in the development of Nigeria and prioritisation of her people both from consumer protection and economic competitiveness standpoints,” he said.
The council promised to facilitate access by all Nigerians to safe products and secure the protection of rights for all consumers in Nigeria. Irukera stressed that, “we at the Consumer Protection Council will engage every tool and in this new law and any other enactment for the protection of consumers to ensure fair treatment and respect for Nigerian consumers.”
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ahmed Lawan (Yobe North). According to marketing analysts, the law will indeed promote economic efficiency, maintain competitive markets in the Nigerian economy, protect the Nigerian economy, as well as protect the interest and welfare of consumers by providing consumers with a wide variety of quality products at competitive prices as well as prohibit restrictive or unfair business practices in the Nigerian economy.