KARACHI: Consumer Protection Bill Sindh was finally presented to the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday by CMs Special Assistant on Culture and MPA Sharmila Faruqui.
Sharmila, together with a team from various consumer organizations, had worked hard in formulating the Bill and after examining existing CP Bills in the country and the region, a comprehensive Bill, covering the concepts of consumer courts, the issue of counterfeiting and look-alike consumer products and undue price fluctuations, had been drawn up.
As the Bill was long overdue and its contents have been vetted by the home and law departments, the Bureau of Supply and Prices, etc., it is hoped that it would be approved and adopted without delay, by all the political parties. For the record, all other provinces in Pakistan have a functional Consumer Protection Law, while Punjab has established Consumer Courts also.
CPB Sindh was first signed by the Governor on August 12, 2004, but was never presented to the Sindh Assembly for ratification and has lapsed 3 times. As such, Sindh is the only province which does not have a Consumer Protection Law or Consumer Courts.
Due to the lack of Consumer Protection Laws and enforcement of existing Food and Drug Laws, the markets are flooded with substandard, look alike and counterfeit products and Karachi has become a dumping ground for semi expired food, beverages and medicines.
As there is no accountability or legal checks, the gullible citizens are being misled by glossy and misleading advertisements and callous manufacturers and wholesalers play havoc with the health and lives of the consumers.
A recent survey shows that the government is also losing Rs 20 billion per year in revenue in the form of taxes, excise duties, etc, as most of these manufacturers of spurious and counterfeit products are not registered and do not pay taxes.
A Hamid Maker, Founder Trustee, Helpline Trust, stated: We have been pursuing the CPB, for the last seven years and are thankful to Sharmila Faruqui for introducing the Bill in the Sindh Assembly. We sincerely hope that as the Bill has been approved by the law and other ministries, there will be no further delay and the SA will pass and adopt the Bill without any further delay, as without the Bill, the consumers will continue to be cheated and poisoned.
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