CONSUMER PROTECTION ANALYSIS AND INVESTIGATION
SERVICE TYPE: Assessment & Analysis; Technical Assistance
PROJECT TIMELINE: March 2014 – February 2015
Afghanistan is a country in transition. It has recorded some major achievements in recent years, such as rapid economic growth, relatively low inflation, better public financial management, and gains in basic health and education. Key social indicators, including life expectancy and maternal mortality, have improved markedly, and women are participating more in the economy. Yet in other respects, particularly governance and institution building, the country has fared less well, and many indicators have worsened in recent years.
In the course of becoming a functioning market economy, Afghanistan has to establish consumer protection laws and ensure effective protection of consumer rights. The Government lacked the policy, legal framework, mechanisms and processes to safeguard consumers against low quality, sub-standard and over-priced products. There was little to identify and respond to infringements of consumer rights, such as the sale of dangerous or sub-standard products, or false claims relating to products and services in the market place. It is generally believed that successful implementation of consumer protection policy and fair competition promotes good governance and strengthens democracy.
To cope with these challenges, the Competition Promotion and Consumer Protection Department (CPCPD) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) requested the assistance of international experts to draft bylaws and regulations, establish systems and protocols for investigation and analysis of infringement of consumer rights, develop and support the creation and functioning of a database to be used by CPCPD and develop training programs and a manual for CPCPD staff on established regulations.
ADR Center was selected to work closely with the CPCPD department of the MoCI in order to establish the functional structure and build the necessary capacity for the protection of consumers.
- Developed Standard Operating Procedures, Investigations Procedures and Protocols for Data Collection
- Reviewed and assessed the CPCPD communications strategy and provided recommendations for improvement
- Developed a sustainability plan for CPCPD to ensure continuity of the project results
- Organizing a final conference and workshop to present the results of the project
- Developed an advocacy plan for the approval of the consumer protection law
- Complete review and assessment of Afghanistan’s Consumer Protection Law, resulting in a draft law being proposed along with a full set of regulations and bylaws to implement the Consumer Protection Law and to further organize the work responsibilities of the CPCPD. With the drafting of these regulations and bylaws, the Consumer Protection Law is now close to being approved by the Afghanistan Ministry of Justice, the passage of this full framework is one step in bringing Afghanistan closer to a country that has the capacity and the structure to protect consumers and their rights.
- Developed and supported the establishment and operation of a database for consumer protection and competition matters, and serves as a knowledge management and information analysis tool for the CPCPD. The database contains the relevant information on priority sectors of the economy, the price data for essential goods, and a log of consumer complaints and instances of infringements of consumer rights.
- Developed and implementing a rigorous and comprehensive training program for the CPCPD staff on the developed consumer protection framework, emphasizing the staff’s duties and functions and coaching the staff on the processes involved such as when conducting investigations. The CPCPD has also been provided with all the training materials and training manuals so that they are then able to continue the training program after the project’s conclusion.
Harakat – Afghanistan Investment Climate Facility Organization