GIS – 11 June, 2020: The Minister of Commerce and Consumer Protection, Mr. Yogida Sawmynaden announced the enactment of a new Consumer Protection framework, this afternoon, in the National Assembly, as he was intervening during the debates on the National Budget 2020-2021.
The Minister reiterated Government’s commitment, during this Post Covid-19 crisis, to take immediate measures to restore growth and protect employment which he said, is reflected in the Budget 2020-2021 that makes provision for measures and initiatives to better protect our citizens.
Mr. Yogida Sawmynaden underlined that during the recent Covid-19 lockdown, a plethora of issues concerning the functioning of the Consumers Affairs Unit ( CAU) have been noted which requires changes be brought in the way the institution operates so as to better ensure consumer protection.
The emerging e-commerce sector, for instance, is operating without any regulatory mechanism, he said. He deplored that that several forms of abuses were noted from some online platforms, both existing and new.
Hence, in view of the practical issues encountered by consumers, the new legal framework will introduce strict parameters within which e-commerce service providers should operate and provide timely remedies to consumers in case of abuse by traders, he said.
Furthermore, the Minister emphasised that the operation and management of the CAU requires upscaling, and that the unit will henceforth be expected to be more proactive in helping to regulate both the traditional commerce and the e-commerce market.
Minister Sawmynaden pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for the country to be self-sufficient for our food supply as well as self-subsistent in terms of consumption. Food self-sufficiency, he said, allows the food markets to increase their reliance on domestic food production thus mitigating the risk of a shortage of essential food items.
Hence, he indicated that while at the level of Government, measures are being reinforced to regenerate the agricultural sector , it is equally important individuals recognise the benefits of having their own backyard garden so that they can produce their own vegetables and fruits, to decrease dependency on imported ones.
Mr. Yogida Sawmynaden also recalled that the Economic Development Board has currently 34 projects worth Rs 62 Billion and that a High-Level Committee chaired by the Prime Minister will expedite processing and approve these projects.