By Abiemwense Moru
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, has welcomed the signing into law of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dogara made the commendation in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Bill, now an Act, which was sponsored by the Speaker as part of efforts of the House of Representatives to create a conducive business environment for investment, is aimed at developing business and promoting fair, efficient and competitive markets in the Nigerian economy.
Commenting on the presidential assent to the Bill, Dogara said: “This is a welcome development because of the huge potential the new commission holds for the progress of the business sector and development of the nation’s economy.
“This new law, if implemented to the letter, will, in a nutshell, prohibit restrictive and unfair business practices, promote competition, prevent monopoly or abuse of dominant market position by any company.
“It will protect employees, ensure that consumers are protected and have access to products made to the highest standards and compensation for faulty purchases or transactions.
“Above all, it will engender innovation as entities doing business in Nigeria will be forced to compete as against colluding as is presently the case.
“By the establishment of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal, investors’ confidence will improve because a healthy business competition will emerge and consumer rights will be strengthened.”
The new Act repealed the Consumer Protection Act, and provides for the establishment of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which will facilitate access by all citizens to safe products and protect their consumer rights.
Among others, the law stipulates a five-year jail term for individuals and N50 million for entities who violate the competition law and a fine not exceeding 10 per cent turnover in the preceding business year of a defaulting company.
For those in breach of consumer rights, it provides for individuals, imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to payment of fine not exceeding N10 million or both and in the case of a body corporate, liable on conviction, to a fine of not less than N100 or 10 per cent of its turnover in the preceding year, whichever is higher.
The speaker, therefore, called on President Buhari to immediately set up the commission. (NAN)