Abia lawmakers move to stop infiltration of substandard products from Aba market, others
The Abia State House of Assembly has commenced debate on the bill seeking the establishment of Abia State Consumer Protection Agency.
The sponsor of the bill and the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Uchendu, who led the debate, explained that the importance of the bill primarily encompassed the protection of health and lives of Consumers/Abians.
Uchendu stated that the passage of the bill into law shall save the populace from the consumption and use of fake and substandard products.
The bill also seeks to, “Encourage local production and rid the state of fake and substandard products which hitherto have flooded the market, enhance the ease of business in Abia state
“Other importance of the bill included, to increase the internally generated revenue and Support the current administration drive in promoting made in Aba/Abia products.
“The Agency shall among other things help in addressing the unprecedented complaints from consumers, as well as educate them on their rights and privileges, advise the state government on such related matters and publish the list of banned products in the state”.
Uchendu stated that to achieve all the goals stated above, the bill provided for the setting up of a standard material analytical laboratory and production support centre.
The Deputy Speaker stressed that while the analytical laboratory component of the centre will assist government, industries and professional associations in developing quality, designed to safeguard the interest of the consumers, the production support component will offer subsidized technical support to micro, small and medium scale enterprises.
Contributing during the debate, the member representing Ukwa East State Constituency, Hon Paul Taribo, in his support for the Bill said the Bill is more of a Health bill which seeks to ensure that Abians live on good health.
“This agency will ensure that goods and services given to Abia populace enjoy standards as measured in other parts of the world”.
He, therefore, urged the House to support the Bill.
The member representing Ikwuano State constituency, Hon Stanley Nwabuisi, in his support, said the bill seeks to domesticate the law already existing at the federal level.
Also, speaking on the bill, the member representing Obingwa West State Constituency, Hon Thomas Nkoro, said the Bill should seek for the protection of consumers in Abia State.
“We should find out if the Bill is proper; what we should find out is if the Bill is seeking the Consumer Protection Council in Abia State”
He said issues of Consumer Protection is on the Exclusive List of the Federal Government.
The member representing Umuahia South State Constituency, Hon Barr Jerry Uzosike, in his contribution also, said in 1992, the National Assembly passed the Consumer Protection Council Law but its ineffectiveness caused the Kano State government to go ahead to establish the Consumer Protection Council of their own.
“The existing federal laws which went ahead to say there should be a State Committee have not funded this Committee.
“Instead of discarding the Bill, I want to plead with the House for the Speaker to allow the Committee on Judiciary to look at this Bill and bring it out in a way we can safely handle the Bill and pass it into Law”.
In his submission, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Chinedum Orji said if a mention is made on issues of Law and Constitution, the House is bound to look into it critically.
The leader in his summary of the debate said based on the concerns of some of the Lawmakers, he quoted item 64 under the Exclusive Legislative List which put the agency in the Exclusive List.
“What happens in the state is, the Consumer Protection Agency is domiciled in Enugu and those working there are looking for protection against litigation.
“We should find a way for this Bill so that experts will bring in their contributions to enable us repackage this Bill,” he said.
DAILY POST reports that the house subsequently committed the bill to its committee on trade and investment to conduct a public hearing to iron out areas of conflicting interests and report back to the house within 3 weeks for further legislative actions.