Monday, February 18, 2008

Govt told: enact law to enforce observation


Front Page article in Business Times of 17.01.2008

By Times Reporter,

THE Government in Dar has been urged to enact a law that would perforce require businesses to have insurance cover in favour of their customers/consumers.

According to Bernard Kihiyo, the executive director of the Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), “insurance services are today needed in the Tanzanian market more than at any time in the country’s history. Even domestic businesses are morally bound – and should also be legally bound – to apply best practices at all times and under all circumstances if they are to be effective in the global economy.

” In that regard, he said, proper legislation and regulatory frameworks are needed, to go hand-in-hand with insurance policies which cover the greatest possible majority of consumers – complete with the right and adequate compensation schemes.

“Up to the moment,” Kihiyo said, “there is not a single firm which has already established such a scheme – although there are many consumers who routinely face various challenges, but are invariably denied their (consumer) rights.”

He also insisted on “consumer education as an important part of the process ... and is a basic consumer right that must be assured for the general public. Such education should be introduced at the school and college levels.”

This would increase consumers’ understanding of their rights, and would also build consumers’ ability to pursue their rights more effectively. The effort at consumer education would make consumers’ voices heard far and wide, loud and clear.

There also would be increased awareness amongst consumers in particular, and the public in general, this facilitating accountability and responsiveness to consumers’ needs and interests.

Kihiyo said “education, any education in fact, is a lifelong process of constantly acquiring relevant information, knowledge and skills. “Consumer education is an important part of this process and is a basic consumer right that must be insisted upon by the general public and, as such, should be introduced at the school and college levels,” Kihiyo stressed.

TCAS intends to introduce annual Awards for the ‘Best Manufacturer,’ ‘Best Supplier,’ ‘Best Importer,’ et cetera, as adjudged in accordance with accepted standards and the views of consumers countrywide. According to Kihiyo, the Awards scheme would give back to businesses the confidence they need for business conduct par excellence from Tanzanian consumers in particular, and entire communities at large.

“The Awards system aims at encouraging business companies to take a triple-bottom-line approach to their performance: sensitivity to standards, quality and environment – as well as economic impact of their operations.

“This Awards Scheme will keenly watch how businesses are applying responsive business practices that can create value chains for the betterment of consumers – and that would help business firms to become more cost-effective, accountable and responsive to consumers’ needs and interests,” the consumer

Source; Front Page; the Business Times of 17.01.2008

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