CUTS International welcomes the Consumer and Competition Bill

Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International welcomes President Rupiah Banda’s announcement during the official opening of the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly that government will introduce the Consumer and Competition Bill during the current seating of Parliament.

CUTS International welcomes this move as it comes at a time when consumer protection and consumer sensitisation is greatly needed in this country.

CUTS International has for sometime now been advocating for such a law and having participated in the formulation of the Competition and Consumer Welfare draft Policy, we have been urging government to expedite the process of enactment.

It should be noted that under the current Competition and Fair Trading Act Cap 417 of the Laws of Zambia, the Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) relies on the Courts of Law to resolve cases of consumer rights violations and anti-competition practices.

We hope that in the proposed legislation, the Zambia Competition Commission will be given powers to mete out punishments to offenders just like other regulatory bodies or agencies such as the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) and Communications Authority of Zambia (CAZ) do.

Most consumers in Zambia are greatly disadvantaged as they are not aware of the existing Act and their rights as contained in the current law.

It is in this regard that the expected enactment of this Bill into law will empower consumers to demand immediate redress and have their rights respected.

CUTS International also hopes that once Parliament passes the Bill, it will also curtail unfair trade as well as any existing uncompetitive practices in some sectors of the Zambian economy.

Further, we urge all Honourable Members of Parliament to support this Bill when it is presented to Parliament as it will empower the people they represent in their constituencies to have their rights to better services upheld and protected.

We also take this opportunity to encourage all consumers to be vigilant and ensure that they do not allow anyone to violate their rights.