World Consumer Rights Day: Second Policy Roundtable – ‘Consumer Welfare through Effective Regulatory Actions’

At the end of the Cold War most countries, both emerging and developing countries worldwide, moved from a more command economy to a free market economy. This movement resulted in private sectors coming into the production of goods and services. It was the transition from one monopoly to another form of monopoly.

Sectoral reforms resulted in the formation of publicly funded regulatory agencies, tasked with regulating the practice of trade and services in the economy. In 1997, as a result of public agitation against the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), in determining its own tariffs to consumers, the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC), Act 538 of 1997 was adopted, amongst others, to set tariffs for consumers.

Over the years, many regulatory agencies have been established by the authority of Parliament. Some of these agencies include: the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), National Communication Authority (NCA), Food and Drug Authority (FDA), and the National Pension Regulatory Authority (NPRA). The mandate of these regulators in their respective industries is to set industry standards, ensure that consumers are protected, as well as, promote competition in these industries.

As a consumer organisation which has recently been established in Ghana, CUTS is committed to promoting ‘consumer sovereignty’ – pursuing the goal of CUTS International that has been active in this area for over three decades now, across developing and least developed countries of both Africa and Asia. The Policy Roundtable brought together experts, scholars and practitioners who are well versed in the field of consumer rights and regulatory issues in key sectors like electricity, telecom, water, bus transport, healthcare, etc. The purpose of the discourse was to set an action agenda and bring the Ghanaian consumer issue to the forefront of policy discussions amongst the relevant government, civil and business organizations.

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