30 April 2014

Gambia: Consumer Protection


We wish to add our voice to the Trade minister in calling on the business community to ensure that good quality products are imported into the country so as to ensure the safety and health of consumers. It is obvious that good and quality products are what the country needs so that development our agenda can be collectively pursued. We therefore call on the business community to adhere to this call and engage in consumer satisfaction without compromising quality.

It is obvious that if the trajectory of business development and competition meet our expectations, the long wait for greater economic advancement would indeed be worthwhile. Of course, it is an open secret that the liberalisation of our economy has brought increasing competition in the market and this augurs well for the welfare of the consumer.

Suffice it to say, The Gambia did notably well in liberalising her systems. The coming in of private operators is already having a remarkable impact in service delivery and this is a most welcome development since the private sector accounts for the lion's share of The Gambia's economic output.

The competition in the market is very evident and is creating greater welfare for consumers. This is not surprising because the expected benefits of private sector-led development are mainly the benefits that are to arise from competition. However, despite the benefits of competition, the harsh truth as we have all learnt particularly through the global financial meltdown is that markets are not perfect.

Hence regulation and consumer protection are of crucial importance for the health of a free market system in the long run.

Whilst we commend the minister for reminding the business community of this reality, we equally call on consumers to take ownership of their own rights and demand from the suppliers nothing less than their due. It is about time the consumer stood up head high to say "I am the boss" and before long all the suppliers of goods and services in the economy would learn the hard fact that "the boss is always right"!

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