By Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
Gambia Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC) in partnership with Gambia Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) celebrated the world consumer rights day at a ceremony held at Westfield Monument on the 15th March, 2017. The event attracted a cross section of GSM Operators, Consumer Groups, and various musicians such as Tatadinding Jobarteh, Balla Ranks who composed a song for PURA and OG Loo who also composed a song for GCCPC. The colourful event was characterized by a march past led by the Police Band from Serrekunda Market to Westfield Monument.
Mr. Demba Jawo the Minister of Information, Communication, Infrastructure, in his key note address talked about key rights of the consumers which are right to be informed, right to choose, right to be heard, right to redress, right to consumer education, right to healthy environment, right to compensation, amongst a host of others. He noted the importance of the day as it is not only set out for fun but also to value and attach importance to the consumer issues.
For his part Mr Amadou Ceesay the Executive Secretary of GCCPC, in his statement noted the importance of the event saying this was possible due to the GCCPC’s collaboration with PURA and other stakeholders. He said they are joining the rest of the world to commemorate the world consumer rights day on the 15 March each year. He added that GCCPC and PURA have a special relationship anchored on an MOU signed in 2016 agreeing to work together to address issues of mutual concern to both institutions.
For 2017, Mr Ceesay continued that GCCPC joining consumer organizations around the world to call for a ‘Digital World Consumers can Trust’. He stated that the day co-ordinated by Consumers International, which is aiming to create a better digital world by promoting better digital access, security, understanding and redress.
Executive Secretary further said the advent of digital technology and the internet have change consumers’ lives dramatically. “The speed in which this has occurred has meant in some areas changes in the digital marketplace are outpacing consumer protection,” he asserted.
On his part, Mr. Mustapha Alex da Costa the Vice President of Consumers’ Protection Association of The Gambia, (CPAG) said in The Gambia they joined the worldwide campaign to build a better digital world that promotes availability, affordability and access to participation and innovation that is good for consumers, the economy and the society.
Other speakers included Mr. Ansumana Sanneh the Director General of the Gambia Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) who said they are mandated by an Act of Parliament to ensure that the services provided by service providers are of quality and also ensure that the rights of consumers are protected.