Malawi celebrates World Consumer Rights Day

Parade during Consumer Rights Day

The Competition and Fair Trading Commission on Wednesday, 15th March 2017, led consumers and traders in the country in celebrating the World Consumer Rights Day under the theme ”Consumer Rights in the Digital Age”.

The celebrations, which took place in Lilongwe, started with a consumers’ parade, from Simama Hotel to Lilongwe City Mall (Game Complex), where the main event took place.

Speaking during the event, Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Cliff Chiunda said at the heart of the competition policy is the government desire to safeguard consumers from unfair trading practices perpetuated by commercial enterprises.

“As a Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, we are proud that our agency, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission, has shown, that it is passionate about implementing its mandate without fear or favour.

“Within the short period of time that the Commission has been in existence it has intervened on the market in a number of ways for the benefit of consumers. For instance, I have been informed that, for the past three and half years, the Commission has helped consumers recover over MK20 million which they would have otherwise lost if the Commission had not intervened,” said Chunda.

CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Wezi Malonda, speaking during the event noted that today we are living in a digital age.

“This technological advancement is re-defining people’s lives in many ways. This theme, Consumer Rights in a Digital Age, is very relevant to Malawi since the country has also taken a fair share in consumption of digital products and services; and consumers have experienced a number of challenges on the market such as being offered substandard digital gadgets, weak television signals, slow internet connections and information asymmetry between service providers and consumers. It is, therefore, worth to commemorate the World Consumer Rights Day under this theme,” said Malonda.

Also participating in the parade were senior officials from the Reserve Bank of Malawi – National Payment Systems; COMESA Competition Commission and the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA).

The World Consumer Rights Day falls on 15th March every year and is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement. Participants observed the day by promoting the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected.

Historically, on March 15, 1962, President John F. Kennedy presented a speech to the United States Congress in which he extolled four basic consumer rights, later called theConsumer Bill of Rights. The United Nations through the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection expanded these into eight rights, and thereafter Consumers International adopted these rights as a charter and started recognising March 15 as World Consumer Rights Day.

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