Experts seeks office of ‘Financial Ombudsman’ on consumer protection
Participants at the Webinar organised by CAFEi, a non-profit organisation has called on the government to set up an Office of the Financial Ombudsman that will be responsible for settling disputes between customers and financial service providers in the country.
In a communique issued at the end of the conference, participants, which include Babatunde Irukera, the DG of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Abimbola Akeredolu, Partner Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, Banwo & Ighodalo and Sola Salako-Ajulo, President of Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON) want government to increase funding to consumer protection commission.
“The FCCPC is saddled with a lot of responsibilities, however; there is need for government to increase her budget and a way to do that is by apportioning a percentage of the VAT to running the Commission,” the participants said in the communique.
They also ask the government to kick start the process of making functional the Tribunal established by the provisions of the FCCPA.
This, they said will fast track redress procedures by consumers who are aggrieved or not satisfied with the service providers in the country.
Other resolutions at the end of the conference include; “Big brands‟ in manufacturing, services etc. should collaborate with government on consumer enlightenment.
“The best form of consumer education is for these “big brands‟ to keep educating people within the rural and urban areas about their rights and processes to follow when redress is sought.
They said it is important that awareness on social media as well as other platforms is created to enlighten consumers about their rights and protection.
The public is enjoined to take advantage of the FCCPA for the protection of their rights while NGOs should be saddled with the responsibility as mediators on consumer rights infringement to reduce pressure on the Commission.
On its part, CAFEi said it will continue to create awareness and enlighten people about their rights as consumers and how such rights are protected and can be enforced by the provisions of the law.
The organisation said it was ready to advocate the protection of consumer rights, assist consumers with their complaints, provide counseling to unsatisfied/aggrieved consumers as well as help with the drafting of petitions or in other instances act as mediator between the consumer and the service providers.
Earlier, the programme moderator, Mojisola Bakare-Asieru said the principal objective of the organisation is to aid consumers in making informed decisions on goods and services in all facets of life, including the banking and finance sector.