By Eric Toroka
Business Times; Friday 30 may – 5 June, 2007
The issue of violation of consumers’ rights has not been given due weight by a number of countries in the world and therefore urged action is needed to tackle the problem as contrary to that many states will fall short of realising their MDGs, says executive director for Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society (TCAS), Bernard Kihiyo.
He said if we real want countries to make progress in reducing poverty and attaining the MDGs Tanzanians have a think twice and analyse the trend of events with the intention to help countries realise the intended goals.
In 2000 the UN Millennium Declaration, adopted at the largest-even gathering of heads of state and governments, committed countries (rich and poor).
The TCAS executive director elaborated, he should acknowledge; this strategy as one of the best ever being adopted by the UN and agreed that by 2015 all 191 United Nations member state should have:
· Eradicated extreme poverty and hunger,
· Achieved universal primary education;
· Promoted gender equality and empower women;
· Reduced child mortality;
· Improved maternal health;
· Combated HIV/Aids, Malaria and other diseases;
· Ensured environmental sustainability;
· Developed a global partnership for development “We are almost half way to 2015; however, I have the feeling that so many countries around the world (including Tanzania) will far short the Millennium Development Goals if the world will not urgently take into account consumers’ rights violation as the matter of concern” he said.
For instance, how can a country eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, if the market is full of counterfeit products, poor services and unfair charges?
How can a country eradicate poverty while business form cartels to reap more profit out of the little income/resource of the poor especial on food, fuel, essential human drugs, building materials, farming equipment and the like?
How can a country reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/Aids, Malaria and other diseases; while the market is full of fake drugs of all sorts with very poor customer services characterized with unprofessional conducts; with millennium checks and balance by consumers themselves and other stakeholders?
How can a country ensure environment sustainability while consumes and producers don’t know their responsibilities to attain sustainable consumption and production? For instance, the demand for safe sanitation and environment depends far more on hygiene education.
“How can the countries develop a global partnership for development while trade polices in developed countries remain highly discriminatory against developing country exports at the same time encourage sabotage on economies of weaker partners (unfair contracts, counterfeit goods) as a result, we found in our countries more globalization losers than winners”, Kihiyo noted.
Others factors such as declining lever of aid pledge were made by rich countries to allocate at least 0.7 per cent of their gross national income to development by 2015 but; many countries are by far behind this, how can MDGs be attained under these worlds must be backed these circumstances?
Rich countries have made promises to support MDG but these worlds must be backed by deeds.
It is not about hard work, support or individual efforts that will reduce poverty, but also it is about all potential opportunities to eradicate poverty; should be part of the system with ensure equal rewarding to the hard work or opportunity gained or given to individuals especially the poor.
Thus, to achieve a higher rate of successful national strategic program interventions to achieve MDGs, consumer rights protection and a promotion program is of paramount importance.
Section IV 1999-Un Consumer Protection guidelines, underscores the need for governments and international organizations to promote and facilitate capacity-building in the area of consumerism.