Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Christopher Yaluma says government attaches great importance to the welfare of Consumers in Zambia.
Mr. Yaluma says this is demonstrated by its commitment to the consumer protection agenda through the various laws and regulations which include the Competition and Consumer Protection Policy, Information and Communications Technology Policy, the Competition and Consumer Protection Act, the Standards Act and the Banking and Financial Services Act.
He said the laws and regulations provide for consumer rights such as the right to privacy, to choose a product, to fair and honest trade, to disclosure of information, to accountability by suppliers, to fair value, good quality and safety products and services, to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions, to equality in the consumer market and protection against discriminatory marketing.
He was speaking during the commemoration of the Consumer Rights Day being celebrated under the theme, “Trusted Smart Products, Ensuring Financial Inclusion for a Better Zambiap”.
15th March of every year is set aside for celebrating and joining in solidarity within the international community to push the consumer protection agenda forward.
“Therefore, as we celebrate this year’s World Consumer Rights Day, I urge all consumers in Zambia to increase their awareness of these rights and to demand that their rights be respected and protected. This is important as it will ensure that market abuses and injustices that tend to undermine consumer rights, are not perpetrated”, Mr. Yaluma has said.
He said the focus of this year’s commemoration is on trusted smart products that ensure financial inclusion.
Mr. Yaluma said in the recent years, there has been an increase at global level and national level in the use of smart products and digital services.
He said from smart phones to palmtops, to voice-activated assistants and smart TVs, these devices are increasingly becoming connected to financial transactions by intent and by default.
Mr. Yaluma said this year’s commemoration of Consumer Rights Day, therefore, intends to highlight the rights of consumers in the technology era and how important it is to put these rights into consideration when developing digital products and services.
He said the emergence of smart technology brings many opportunities for consumers such as access to new services, more responsive products, greater convenience and choice.
Mr. Yaluma said most importantly, the availability of smart products enhances financial inclusion by making financial transactions easier than the use of cash.
“However, the technology era comes with its own challenges and concerns which include issues of security, privacy and clarity about who is responsible when things go wrong. Therefore, this calls for strengthened collaboration among regulators such as the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority, the Bank of Zambia, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and other Law Enforcement Authorities”, he added.