Minster of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan Thursday stressed the need to create awareness among consumers regarding their rights saying that consumer rights are the integral part of civil rights and for that, laws have to be framed and implemented.
While addressing the conference “Digital Marketplaces: Consumer Rights and Concerns” organized by Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) minister said, it is a challenge to empower consumers and making them aware of basic consumer rights and how to act on them.
Minister said there should be a realization that all the sectors and all the things cannot be done with money there are a lot of things that can be done with awareness.
He said the problems of consumer rights is the issue which only society can fight, Democracy is the only answer to success of any nation, and it is the biggest example of rights where everyone is free to register complaints regarding their issues.
Afzal said, “In my personal capacity, I and my ministry will play role in strengthening consumer rights in the country as there is tremendous lack of awareness in people about consumer rights”.
Digital technology and Social media have not only helped shortening the distance between people, it also has created huge impact on consumers around the world, he added.
While discussing the issues Secretary General CRCP Mian Abrar Hafeez said, articulated the virtual marketplaces are catering to all kinds of consumer needs and creating many new benefits including greater choice and convenience.
He said that, currently, the size of Pakistan’s e-commerce market falls between $70-150 million, which is expected to grow up to $1 billion by the year 2020.
Project Coordinator CRCP Munir Ahmed said, that consumers in Pakistan face various challenges due to deficient legal and policy framework for consumer protection, on one side, and weak implementation of consumer laws, on the other.
Despite an increase in the interest of consumers in using the internet to experience a wide range of economic activities, he said, consumers face a range of issues including lack of access, scams and online protection in digital age.
He highlighted that the loss of privacy and improper use of digitally available personal information eventually weakens the confidence and trust of consumers in internationalized markets. The speaker at the conference called for having a robust system of checks and balances for online businesses in Pakistan for making it secure for consumers.
It was also accentuated that the engagement of consumers in Policy and decision making is of utmost importance in order to have policies and to make decisions that are responsive to the needs of consumers.
Though a late entrant in the digital marketplace, Pakistan has recorded a massive rise in online shopping trend, which is largely attributed to cheap availability of cell phones and internet packages.
The aim of the conference is to discuss the issues, challenges and the way forward for having a robust consumer protection regime in Pakistan – APP