15 March 2017

Burundi Consumer Rights 'Not Fully Respected', Says Abuco

While the world celebrates the Consumer Rights Day this 15 March, the Burundian association of consumers (ABUCO) says its members don't actually enjoy their rights.

"How on earth could we say that consumer rights are respected when some measures are imposed without our consent?" says a consumer from the capital Bujumbura. He says food prices increase day after day while the pay of civil servants remains the same. "I am currently unable to spend a whole month without getting into debt because my salary is not sufficient enough to meet all my monthly needs", he says.

Noël Nkurunziza, the chairman of the Burundian association of consumers [ABUCO], says the consumer rights are not respected and it is not only the case for Burundi as it is still an ongoing fight in the world. "We can't say that all consumer rights are respected because most of them are violated. There is a need to set up a regulatory framework where consumers should bring their complaints", he says.

Due to food insecurity and the rise in prices of some staple foods, the government plans to remove all taxes on some imported products.

Philippe Nzobonariba, Spokesperson for the government said the tax and customs duty exemption on basic products should cover customs duties, administrative charges and value added taxes.

The international instrument underlying the consumer protection is contained in the revised United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, adopted on 22 December 2015 by resolution 70/186. These principles include eleven legitimate consumers' needs like the access to essential goods and services, consumers' education, including the education on the environmental, social and economic consequences of consumer choice as well as the promotion and the protection of the economic interests of consumers.

This year's theme was "Building a digital world consumers can trust".

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