Cabinet nod for consumer law has come at the right time, says commodity expert

ABU DHABI — The federal cabinet approval of the consumer’s protection draft law has come at the right time, a commodity expert has said.

By Atef Hanafi

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Published: Wed 19 Jul 2006, 10:47 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:12 PM

The law came into force during the last cabinet meeting on July 15.

“For the bill to achieve its objectives, a balance between the three stakeholders — the legislative powers, the traders as key players, and the consumers as the weakest chain — should be struck. The consumers should be represented in all proposed societies, regardless of its type, and should have a say in the drafting of legislations and laws aimed at protecting them,” said Hassan Al Khathiri, former chairman of the Consumer’s Protection Society (CPS), in a statement to Khaleej Times.

The law calls for setting up a higher consumer committee to be chaired by the Minister of Economy and representatives from consumer societies. The committee will oversee the execution of general policies for the protection of the consumer, curb illegal commercial practices, control prices and arrest their upward trend.

Under the draft law, a department for consumer protection will be set up at the Ministry of Economy. It gives the minister of economy the authority to introduce measures that curb the unusual increase in prices in unusual cases. The law also prevents traders from manipulating the market by hiding goods or refusing to sell them as a means to control, and monopolising the prices.

Al Khathiri called for involving other independent experts with the aim of creating a suitable environment to educate the consumers and traders of their rights and mechanisms for enforcement of the law. “At the end of the day, we will have an honest competition which benefits all stakeholders. Any absence of any of these parties of the equation will be counter-productive,” he warned.

According to him, the most crucial chapter of the law is its executive regulation which defines all details, and it is important that the consumer knows how to enjoy his rights.

“The law is a positive step and all should understand that it serves the interest of both the trader and the consumer. We are heading towards tougher competition as more international companies will enter the market,” he said, adding that such a situation calls for striking a balance between the quality of displayed products and commodities, and prices which constitute the key concern for consumer protection bodies.

“Being sourced from the cabinet and not from the Ministry of Economy is a strong departure in itself which confirms that the protection of the consumer is seen as an issue related to society, individuals, and the national economy. It is an indicator to make the consumer a part of the new law,” he remarked.

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