House passes Consumer Protection law

Parliament yesterday passed the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill. The law sets punitive measures for any company that violates consumers’ rights or abuses competition principles. The legislation is in line with the East African Community (EAC) Competition Act and will streamline doing business in the country.

Parliament yesterday passed the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill.

The law sets punitive measures for any company that violates consumers’ rights or abuses competition principles.

The legislation is in line with the East African Community (EAC) Competition Act and will streamline doing business in the country.

“Any company that will violate this law shall be sued five percent to 10 percent of its net financial income of the previous year,” the law states inter alia, according to a statement from parliament.

According to the statement, a supreme body charged with overseeing the operations of consumer rights will be established by a Prime Minister’s decree upon promulgation of the Competition and Consumer Protection law.

The competitive and consumer protection law ensures that small businesses are protected by law against unfair competition by monopolies.

The draft law also broadens the current law regarding doing business and foreign investment so as to provide Rwandans with an even bigger market where to buy products.

“An established body charged with following up the implementation of the law shall be set up and its officials will have powers to access any business entity for investigations,” adds the statement.

In a previous interview with The New Times, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, said that the bill was designed in harmony with other EAC member states.

Kanimba stated that once enforced, it would protect small firms from business giants in the EAC region.

Although the EAC Competition Act was enacted in 2006, it has been redundant as it requires EAC Partner States to put in place national competition laws.

Only three partner states; Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania have had this legislation with Rwanda and Uganda still in the process of enacting them.

The Act contains several provisions to deal with competition issues such as mergers and acquisitions, counterfeits and other violations of Intellectual Property Rights, and abuse of market dominance.

Ends

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