Vol. 5 Num 574 Fri. January 06, 2006  

'Enact consumer rights protection act soon'

The government should enact the consumer rights protection act immediately to enable the consumers to take legal measures against the producers of sub-standard commodities and adulterated food, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.

They also stressed the need for institutional structure to effectively enforce the law after its enactment.

The Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (CAB) organised the discussion on 'The obstacles to the Consumers' Rights Protection Act (draft)-2004 and our responsibility' at the National Press Club.

The cabinet approved, in principle, the draft act on August 9, 2004 and sent it to the law ministry for scrutiny. The law ministry then raised the number of sections to 83 from 31 and sent it to the commerce ministry, said CAB General Secretary Qazi Farque.

Journalist Borhan Ahmed, president of CAB, presided over the discussion moderated by advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, executive director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA).

Awami League lawmaker Faruk Khan said if the AL is voted to power in the next general election, he would try his best to enact the law at the very beginning of the new parliament.

Prof Abu Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Shilpa Bank, said only enactment of the law is not enough. An institutional structure is also needed to enforce the law.

In a written statement, CAB General Secretary Qazi Farque said consumers are frequently deprived of their rights. They are forced to buy products at high prices and also sub-standard commodities. They also receive low-quality service from different service providers.

But due to the absence of a relevant law, they could not take legal measures against the producers of adulterated food, he added.

Maj Gen (Retd.) Moinul Hossain Chowdhury, Prof SM Al-Hussani, former chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commission, Dewan Sultan Ahmed, vice-president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, M Abdul Momen, president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Wali-ur-Rahman, director of Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs, and Tushar Rehman, executive director of Karmakutir Foundation, also spoke.