Consumer rights day commemorated
Namibians joined consumers all over the globe to commemorate World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March. Consumer rights day is commemorated in recognition of consumer rights when it comes to financial services. It was celebrated under the theme, ‘Our money, our right: campaigning for real choice in financial services’.
“Namibian consumers are powerful and can teach the Namibian financial industry a lesson by with holding deposits and business from the industry. You can of course imagine the consequences this could not only have on them but the Namibian economy,” said Michael Gaweseb, executive director of the Namibia Consumer Trust.
He called upon the Bank of Namibia and the Ministry of Finance not to let consumers down and thanked them for proving that they are willing to look after the interest of consumers.
“They have shown this through public action, for example by instructing banks to reduce rates, initiating the amendment of relevant laws, developing the financial sector strategy, facilitation of the financial inclusion council and of course the commitment to the Financial Literacy Initiative,” Gaweseb said.
According to Gaweseb, the trust’s cooperation with the Ministry and the central bank is based on the understanding that their primary role is not to ensure protection for banks and other financial services providers, but most importantly to protect public interest or consumer interest for the long term benefit of the financial system.
“Considering that the financial sector around the world has been tainted by greed, the role of the regulator has become even more important. This is probably the most preferred way of solving differences with the financial industry,” he said.
Gaweseb further said that the trust is well aware that consumer rights cannot be considered in isolation, and is appealing to the Ministry as well as Bank of Namibia to move the Namibian economy in the direction of a mixed economy as per article 98 (1) of the Namibian constitution.
“We believe the meaning of a mixed economy in our case refers to have an equal dose of capitalism and socialism. The trust visited several towns last year such as Eenhana, Swakopmund, Gobabis and Karasburg apart from Windhoek. We will be visiting all 13 regions of Namibia in order to educate consumers about their rights from a grassroots perspective while also obtaining their views,” he concluded.