Consumer Protection: National Council To Set Up Surveillance System

Inspired by President Paul Biya’s “Communal Liberalism” the National Consumers’ Council is today aligning to the growing demands of the civil society and the patriotic debates on the capitalism system. Protection of the consumer’s rights in Cameroon is guided by arsenal of legal instruments.

Shawn-Nathan Epang

Issues concerning the protection of consumers’ rights would witness an unprecedented attention in 2018 as the National Consumers Council goes operational since its creation in 2016. The structure held its first ever statutory session in Yaounde on June 12 with the 2018 plan of action unveiled. Chaired by the President of the Council, Jacqueline Koa Alima Beyala, appointed on March 12, 2018 by the Prime Minister, the Council has as plan of action to put in place a surveillance system on the consumption of goods and services.

Apart from meeting with different stakeholders in the various consumer rights domain, the council will also step up advocacy in the defence of the interests of consumers as well as creating awareness of enterprises and consumer organisations on their responsibilities. The President of the Council, Jacqueline Koa Alima Beyala told reporters that consumers’ preoccupations must be taken into account by enterprises and producers of goods and services. This is why the council which is a government consultative organ will create a platform for discussions between the government and enterprises on the one hand and consumers’ rights organisations on the other hand.

The strategic plan of the structure that is still to implant its feet on the soil is focused on developing synergy among various actors, reinforcing the protection of goods and services destined for consumers, carryout studies as well as communication. To effectively carry on with its task across the country, the council will designate regional focal points and exchange views with enterprises and producers organisations.

Reinforcing sub-regional and international cooperation would also be a hallmark of the council’s strategic plan. The CEMAC sub-region is currently working on harmonising policies on the promotion of competition and consumer protection. A sub-regional conference to that effect held in Douala, Cameroon late last year during which the Minister of Trade  Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana said Cameroon has an arsenal of laws promoting competition and protecting consumers, but regretted that a vacuum exist at the sub-regional level, hence the need for the harmonization of policies. President Paul Biya in his book titled “Communal Liberalism” had stressed the need for consumers’ interest to be protected in the democratic trade environment.

Thus, legal instruments were put in place like the 2011 law on the protection of consumers’ rights and the creation of the National Consumers’ Council in 2016, which acts as an interface between the government and the enterprises or producer organisations on the one hand and consumers’ rights groups (civil society) on the other hand.

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