The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has commended the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, for his diligence to duty.
The Speaker, therefore, urged ministers in the current regime and future ministers, to emulate Mr Jinapor, who is the caretaker minister for Trade and Industry.
Mr Bagbin’s commendation follows the presentation of what he said was “a well researched” policy statement on consumer protection in Ghana by the minister, who is also the MP for Damango.
In that presentation on the floor of Parliament, in Accra, yesterday ahead of the Consumer Rights Day on March 15, Mr Jinapor traced the history of consumer protection over the centuries across jurisdictions and its importance to the protection of consumer rights and the need for Ghana to have such a law.
He said “Let me thank the minister for always giving parliament prior notice of very key interventions he wants to make particularly dealing with policy and legislation.
“I think the industry of the minister needs commendation and I call on other ministers to emulate that good example, not only in this regime but future regimes.
“We expect that cooperation between parliament and the executive. It gives us the opportunity to do enough research, prepare and then make inputs into what government wants to do.
“There are a lot of key policies we are having challenges with today because parliament was not involved at all. We are not only dealing with goods, we are also talking about services.
“Parliament is the representation of the people and as you know, all the power belongs to the people. So some of these issues, we need to work together so that when it comes up, we will all be in the position to explain to the people because there are a lot of implications.
“I think the minister has given a good account of himself and we all need to commend him.”
Mr Jinapor had told the House that though Ghana’s attempts to protect consumers predated its independence with statutes like the Weights and Measures Ordinance, 1896 (Cap 188) and the Control of Prices Regulations, 1949 (No. 25 of 1949), and other post-independence enactments fragmented across sectors, the country was yet to have a law that holistically protects consumers.
According to him, this state of affairs, long recognised as undesirable, has left the market unregulated in terms of consumer protection, leading to constant violation of consumer rights without adequate remedy.
In this regard, Mr Jinapor said “Government, under the able and distinguished leadership of President Akufo-Addo, is working rigorously to ensure the passag of a Consumer Protection Law”.
That Bill, he said, would “in the coming days” be laid before Cabinet for consideration and approval, and, subsequently, for the consideration for the House.
“Mr Speaker, the days when people depended on what they produced are long gone. Today, everyone depends, to some extent, on goods and services provided by others. The market dependence of consumers has increased considerably, making it imperative for us to protect consumer rights.
“With the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and as host of the AfCFTA Secretariat, consumer protection law is more important now than ever.
“It is my hope that when the time eventually comes, after the Bill has passed through the scrutiny of the eagle-eyed Cabinet of President Akufo-Addo, this august House will fully support government to pass this very consequential legislation,” Mr Jinapor said.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI