Stop neglecting the consumer

Letters to the Editor

Stop neglecting the consumer

Monday, May 18, 2020

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Dear Editor,

It disturbs me to hear that, even in this pandemic, some businesses are still violating our consumers with impunity. Have they forgotten that without consumers there is no economy?

This pandemic has brought light to the poor state of consumer protection in Jamaica. Again, without any adequate redress mechanism in place. How long shall these commercial abuses against consumers be tolerated?

The Government has formed the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force of the usual suspects of industry representatives. Yet, noticeably there is no consumer representative on the task force. This is very deliberate as it shows that the interest of the Government and industry is more about making money and squeezing every ounce of it from the consumer without giving us a say in the matter. Without the input and participation from our consumers, no economic recovery will be possible if our needs are not being met.

It's a simple thing, our economy is base d largely on supply and demand. Yet, without the consumer demand, which is based on consumption, the supply side of things will not work; hence, no economic recovery. Consumer protection must be an integral part of the rebuilding of our economy.

We have all witnessed the shortcomings suffered by consumers during this pandemic and it would be very disingenuous in not addressing these issues as part of an overall economic recovery scheme.

For starters, we need to bridle the microlending industry through proper supervision and regulation. These loan shark businesses are the financial version of the coronavirus infecting people with debt. Secondly, the health and wellness of our consumers must be a priority for getting industry to provide the necessary product information in order to safeguard consumers against the overconsumption of unhealthy foods. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise and are the greatest threat to Jamaica's economic recovery due to the high cost of treating chronic illnesses. We are now aware that NCDs played a significant role in how COVID-19 was able to infect so many people. We can prevent and reduce NCDs significantly by prioritising the national nutrition policy.

Our consumers are the country's greatest asset, let's get it right this time. Consumers matter.

Michael Diamond

President

Consumers Intervention of Jamaica

consumersinterventionjamaica@gmail.com


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