The long-awaited revised law relating to competition and consumer protection yesterday began its journey toward enactment following the passing of its relevance in the Lower House.
Presenting the bill to the lawmakers, the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Uzziel Ndagijimana, said that extensive consultations had been conducted with different consumers to collect ideas, opinions and wishes that could be used to make an informed law.
The draft law comes in to revamp the one that was enacted in 2012 and aims at encouraging competition in the economy by prohibiting practices that undermine the normal and fair course of competition practices in commercial matters.
It also aims at ensuring promotion and protection of the interests of the consumer.
“What we are trying to achieve here is to put in place laws that are clear and that protect and directly deal with some of the issues that come with innovation in the financial markets,” he said.
The law will also deal with many issues including those that may arise from cybercrimes, solving problems regarding consumer protection, putting in place common service standards, harmonising global best practices and standards, financial inclusion and stability among others.
MPs weigh in
MP Frank Habineza tasked the minister to explain what strategy is currently in place to protect consumers from emerging financial crimes which have left many penniless.
“I would like the Minister to tell us whether there is a national strategy in place to protect consumers from emerging crimes related to services like financial block chains, crypto-currency and bitcoin?
To this, Minister Ndagijimana responded that these businesses are still illegal in the country and efforts to discourage Rwandans from investing their money in such schemes will continue.
“It requires vigilance and indeed, most people have lost money. These services are not yet legal in Rwanda and the national bank has consistently explained to the locals not to invest their money in such”.
MP Veneranda Nyirahirwa pointed out the need for Rwandans to fully grasp the contents of the law.
“There are cases where a farmer will request for a loan and either the financial institution approves and delays to disburse it or it fails to inform the person that the request was denied.
“There is need for them to understand these laws very well so that they know what to do in such a case because they tend to know so little about their rights,” she said.
The bill will now move to the respective standing committee where it will be scrutinised with the help of other stakeholders.