Nigeria’s quest to have a legislation that would promote competitive markets in the economy, received a major boost on Wednesday, as the the Senate reconsidered and passed the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill.
The bill also seeks to protect and maintain the interests and welfare of consumers by providing competitive prices and product choices and prohibiting restrictive business practices that prevent competition.
Although the National Assembly had passed the bill a year ago, lawmakers however, reworked and passed the bill following observations from the Department of Legal Services Directorate that some of the clauses were ambiguous.
Moving a motion during Senate plenary, Senate Leader, Ahmad Lawan explained that some of the clauses require fresh legislative action.
He listed the affected clauses to include: 2(3), 4(1)(2)(3), 5((1)(2)(3), 6(1)(2)(3), 7, 8, 9(1)(2)(3)(4), 10(2)(b), 19(1)(2)(4), 25(1)(2)(5), 26, 27(4), 40(1)(a), 94(1), 96(5)(7), 100(1)(2)(3), 105(4)(5)(7)(8), 165(1), 167(1) and Second Schedule (4).
He explained that a technical committee of both legislative chambers as well as the Legal Services Directorate had already worked on the affected clauses.
The Senate then resolved into Committee of the Whole and reconsidered and passed the bill.
Analysts say the proposed legislation, which is one of the economic priority bills in the National Assembly, will improve Nigeria’s position in the Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Nigeria occupies 146th position out of 190 countries in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2018.
If passed into law, the bill would establish a National Administrative Framework for consumer protection, remove regulatory overlaps, create regulatory harmony between the Commission and other agencies involved in consumer protection and create a strict liability offense for common unfair trade practices to deter indulgence by providers of goods and services.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja