Consumer rights awareness in Myanmar
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he BBC News has reported that China banned milk powder and dairy products produced by New Zealand based Fonterra Company last week. The Chinese government said that they had to ban the dairy products after finding dangerous bacteria in them which could cause food poisoning.Similarly, the Sri Lankan government accused Fonterra dairy products of being contaminated with industrial chemicals used in agriculture and livestock industries.
The timing of the news is positive for Myanmar as the deliberation of Protection of Consumer Rights Law is going on in the Parliament. It will enlighten Myanmar consumers of their rights and warn them on the dangers of contaminated products.
In Europe, such laws were enacted before 1950. Myanmar is lagging behind when compared to developed countries. But this should not be our primary concern. What is more important for us is to ensure that the law will be implemented effectively in practice.
It is unfortunate that entrepreneurs in the country do not take the issue of consumer rights seriously. Consumers lack of awareness of their rights and protection laws. In fact, most of our consumers are not even aware of the existence of such rights. Therefore, they are ignorant about protection of their consumer rights. It is disheartening to see that our people lack knowledge of economics and health.
To elucidate this let us look at a few examples. Our people consume varieties of cooking oil which are unfit for human consumption. They are unaware of the fact that it can cause serious health hazards in the long run. According to a news report on August 7, some Chinese cosmetic products which contains lead are available throughout the country. Lead can cause serious skin damage. Similarly, there are frequent news of aviation accidents and disasters in the country. All of them are important issues that should be accounted for in the Protection of Consumer Rights Law.
The protection of consumer rights does not call for enacting a law and taking actions against errant manufacturers only. Provisions should be made to disseminate knowledge of consumer rights to the people. Consumer rights awareness programs should be taken up in the entire country. By doing so, our people will cooperate in the task of protecting consumer rights.
Moreover, protection of consumer rights law is a part of the important national health security scheme. If the people consume food unfit for consumption, the entire nation will suffer from poor health and malnutrition in long run.