NCAA faults new Consumer Protection Act

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has faulted the new Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2019.

The regulator, on Tuesday said the Act was excessively dominant on regulatory bodies, despite the need to protect consumers’ interest.

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act was enacted by the National Assembly in December 2018, and subsequently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari early this year, to promote and maintain competitive markets in the economy as well as ensure welfare of consumers by providing them with product choices at competitive prices, among other functions.

The NCAA at the Stark Illuminate 1.0 forum in Lagos, organised by Starklegal law firm, called for a review of the Act, adding that it would avert major crises in the nation’s aviation sector and other industries.

The Legal Adviser and Head of Compliance and Enforcement at the NCAA, Mr Emmanuel Chukwuma, said the Act was a legislative stamp on the Consumer Protection Council but also “ portends serious danger for the aviation industry.”

According to him, the NCAA was established by the Act of Parliament in 2006, with Part 19 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations 2015 providing for consumer protection.

He explained that the consumer protection conflict between NCAA and the CPC dated back to 2013 in a case involving Aero Contractor’s cancelled flight, where CPC intervened and asked the airline to pay penalties of about N24m.

He said, “It showed their understanding of the industry but at that pace, no airline will survive in Nigeria. The new law is a legislative stamp on the activities of CPC. The President has signed it and it is our law, but the implications are going to be very huge.

“The extra-territorial application of the FCCPA, even to operations outside Nigeria, contravenes Article 6 of the Chicago Convention and a section of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement that made the relevant law as that applicable in the territory of operation. The Act recognises other government agencies, but gave the FCCPC precedence over and above other government agencies.

“In the light of these concerns, we intend to make our points known and seek serious review of the Act. The Nigerian Communications Commission has reached us to partner with them. NAFDAC and others will join us, so as to make a strong representation on the FCCPC.”

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