CONSUMERISM IN NIGERIA (THE ROLE OF NAFDAC AND APOCN)
I embanked upon this study because of the increasing need to protect the interest of all consumers in Nigeria with the specific focus on the role of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria. If these two bodies carryout their duties diligently and effectively, the rights of consumers should be highly protected by reducing unethical behaviours.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Business exists primarily to earn profit. In order to achieve this goal; it will seek to serve some identifiable needs of some definable consumer. Without consumers there would not be business because effective demand is desire back by ability to pay. Consumers are therefore an important societal group towards whom business must believe responsibly.
While consumers are important to business they are not organised to countervail against business practices that are harmful or exploitative of them. In relation to business consumers stand like labour in relation to management. Traditionally, the business are free to make and market any product and or service provided that is not dangerous and also to design advertising communication for its products and services. They are also allowed to price them in ways that enable them to maximize profit.
In 1962, the president of the United States of America (U.S.A), John F. Kennedy (Late) listed consumers right to include.
i) The right to choice from a range of brand of products and services.
ii) The right to be informed of important fact about a product or services, such as quality, health hazards and durability.
iii) The right to be heard by business and government to make complaints or suggestion and to ask question.
iv) The right to be safe when using products and services.
In the United States there arose the consumer movement in reaction to abuses by business, in the 1960’s consumers were dissatisfied with defective or unsafe products fraudulent claims and careless repair. This resulted in the consumer product safety commission in 1972 (U.S) such concerns were felt in Nigeria and have let the government regulation of business to protect consumer. In the 1970’s government set up such bodies as the productivity, prices and incomes board and the part-health office. Today there are more such bodies among the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Federal Road Safety Commission, Public Complaint Commission etc.
The private sector also has watchdog bodies such as the Advertising Practitioner’s Council of Nigeria (APCON), the Nigeria Medical and Dental Council, the Nigerian Bar Association and so on.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Whereas it is proper to have watchdog bodies, it is the relationship between these bodies and business that ensure the production of consumers. Two important consumer rights are the right to safe products and services to be what they are represented to be by the business which is selling it.
NAFDAC certified food and drugs as fit for human consumption, while APCON ensures that advertisements are not deceptive or unethical. The problem of the study is to establish the process by which these two bodies fulfill their mission and how consumers get assurances.