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Empowering Consumer Through Consumer Education

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  1. Empowering Consumer Through Consumer Education The Sixth Annual African Dialogue Consumer Protection Conference Frank S. Mdimi (SCPRO) SENIOR PR, COMMUNICATIONS & CONSUMER EDUCATION OFFICER LILONGWE SEPTEMBER, 2014

  2. Fair Competition Commission (FCC) was established by the Fair Competition Act (No. 8 of 2003) (FCA) to promote and protect effective competition in trade and commerce and protect consumers from unfair and misleading market conduct. FCC’s Director General: is also a Chief Inspector of Merchandise Marks Act, 1963, as amended (MMA), the legislation for fighting trade in counterfeit goods. INTRODUCTION

  3. FCC has a five years strategic plan 2013-2018 which has identified the following as the key strategic areas: Protecting and Promoting Competition in the Tanzanian Market Strengthening Consumer Protection Efforts Reducing Counterfeit Goods in the Market Strengthening Fundraising Efforts to secure alternative sources of income for Commission’s activities To improve institutional delivery capacity (effectiveness). STRATEGIC PLAN

  4. Consumer Education: A Consumer Fair Competition Act (No. 8 of 2003): Consumer = who purchases goods or services for end use/end user.

  5. Consumer in the Market • Consumers are widely exploited. • Common faces of Consumer Exploitations in Tanzanian and other developing markets: • unfair trade practices, faulty weights and measures, refusal to exchange faulty goods-”Goods once sold are not returnable”. • Hidden charges (ATM charges, loan arrangements, data charges per minute on mobile phones). • Selling adulterated or defective goods are sold and resisting exchanges of the same • Bait advertising (e.g. “Sale” adverts running for almost a year, quick healing medicines-dakika tatu, mobile phone promotions, male lifestyle drug –”cialis/viagra”, anti-aging cosmetics, detergents).

  6. Why Consumer Education Intervention Markets do not work fairly: • Producers are few, powerful and organized: Economic power = high Political Power-consumer justice highly delayed. • Consumers are many, scattered (disorganized):Consumers are prone to market imperfections-manufacturers’ manipulations (TBL vs Serengeti case, Kilimanjaro Spring Water, Serengeti Sugar Free Beer) • Lengthy Planned Economy:After market economyconsumers still depend on Government total protection. • Therefore: A need for consumer sensitization on rules and regulations to ensure their effective protection.

  7. Why Consumer Education Intervention Importance of Consumer: • basic knowledge to handle consumer problem, • Consumer a discriminating buyer, (informed decision). • Prepares young generation to become pro-active consumer society from early age.

  8. Consumer Education and Programmes What is Consumer Education and What it covers? • Consumer education is the preparation of an individual through skills, concepts and understanding that are required for everyday living to achieve maximum satisfaction and utilization of his resources. • It is an education given to the consumer about various consumer goods and services, covering price, standard trade practice through magazines, websites, social media channels and electronic media

  9. Consumer Education and Programmes What Consumer Education covers? • Reward and punishment (generates “Dos” and “Don’ts”) • What are consumer rights and responsibilities: • Before buying • While Buying, and • After Buying • What are manufacturers’ responsibilities • Education regarding importance of “Consumerism”

  10. Consumer Education and Consumerism Consumer Education instills Consumerism • Consumerism refers to Self efforts on the part of consumer for safeguarding themselves. • Consumerism includes: • Movement by consumer association • Advocate and ensure fair and honest (ethical) practices on the part of manufacturers, traders, dealers, service providers, in relation to consumer • Empowering consumers to have basic needs of life • Enhance consumers’ access to adequate and quality information to enable them make informed purchasing decisions

  11. Tanzania’s case • Fair Competition Commission Act: Main Consumer Law

  12. Tanzania’s case Consumer Education Activities (CEA) in Tanzania • Tanzanian consumers generally referred to as “DOCILE”; No strong consumer movements/associations. • CEA started with Zonal and Regional Consumer Awareness Programmes targeting NGOs/CBOs, Judiciary, business community in Mwanza, Dodoma, Arusha, Mbeya, Mtwara, Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara. • Radio Programmes in National Radio in the first year of operation and ad-hoc programmes in other FM Radio Stations afterwards. • First Consumer Rights held in March, 2009, followed by annual commemorations every year afterwards.

  13. Tanzania’s case Consumer Awareness & Education Activities • Regional Workshop on Combating Counterfeit medicines for East African Member states’ law enforcers; jointly organised by FCC and American Embassy and held in Dar es Salaam in February 2010, followed by a joint FCC-TFDA-USAID Exhibition Programme on Counterfeit Medicines held at DITF grounds in Dar es Salaam in July 2010. • Consumer Education Workshops to Journalists in 2007 & 2012, Parliamentarians (2008), (Kinondoni), Judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal, General Public (Exhibitions, Trade Fairs, mass Media, Seminars to Universities SUA, Bagamoyo. • Consumer Law and Competition Economics now taught at UDSM (LLM, MIB), SUA and OUT.

  14. Tanzania’s case Consumer Directorate Established at FCC • “Consumer Protection and Anti-Counterfeit” directorate established at FCC effective 1st July, 2014. It has three departments: Consumer Protection, Consumer Education and Anti-Counterfeit; • Consumer Education = new dept at FCC. Still learning from best international practices, especially African and similar economies. • There is an experience on Public and Consumer Awareness programmes to tap from in charting out a way forward.

  15. Tanzania’s case Focus of FCC’s Consumer Education Efforts (CEE) • Consumer Education Department plans to undertake more community outreach and mass media based as well as focused consumer education programmes including the following: • Sensitizing teachers and education officers on the consumer education aspects and the desire of FCC to support consumer Education Clubs, Debates and Essay writing competitions among clubs;

  16. Focus of FCC’s CEE • Studying and establishing means for funding consumer education activities such as “Consumer Education Fund” as well as find financiers to the fund and rules for disbursing such funds to Consumer Education Stakeholders including school consumer clubs and consumer associations; • Identify key educational areas for general consumer education and develop educational messages for running into electronic mass media channels (Radio and TV) as short commercials and short plays (Messages developed and procurement of production specialists is well underway).

  17. Focus of FCC’s CEE • Radio and TV programmes focus being on “free-to-air” programmes and few paid programmes; • Advantages of Consumer Education • Feedback for the business • Producers and sellers will not take consumers for granted • Government response • Consumer - Producer interaction

  18. Nawonga Chomene(Thank You Very Much) Fair Competition Commission 2nd Floor, Western Wing, Ubungo Plaza, Morogoro Road,P.O.BOX 7883, Dar es Salaam.TEL:+255222461565, 2461566, 2461568, 2461569; FAX:+255 222461567;E-MAIL: info@competition.or.tz,WEBSITE: www.competition.or.tzBLOG: www.fcctanzania.blogspot.com