By Abba-Eku Onyeka
Director General (DG), Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera has charged producers on the need to make customers’ satisfaction their priorities.
He said prioritizing consumer protection as the pre-eminent factor in protecting brand, businesses, managing crisis, building confidence and corporate growth goes a long way in promoting loyalty and trust.
The DG said this in a release made out of his meeting with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), food and beverage companies who are members of Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) signed by Abiodun Obimuyiwa the Deputy Director, Public Relations in the Council.
He reiterated that customer service shouldn’t be ancillary to business, especially in the food and beverage industry, saying rather it must be the core of business and operations.
He however noted that the meeting of CEOs demonstrated their companies’ resolve to ensure consumer protection, adding that CEOs are vital to customer satisfaction and economic growth.
Irukera said President Muhammad Buhari’s administration recognized the role of business organisations and their CEOs in economic expansion, saying that the president always listens to genuine, well-meaning and societally committed businesses.
The CPC boss argued that consumer protection was more important than Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), noting that CSR is sometimes viewed with suspicion and characterized as self-serving in part, because the companies have not truly satisfied their customers, just as he expressed what he believed was the welcome optional CSR.
The DG therefore maintained his insistence on what he termed as mandatory Corporate Obligatory Responsibility (COR) which he described as customer service or consumer protection, stressing that vibrant combination of both is the best possible brand, stressing that nothing repairs or maintains reputation and eliminates distrust better than fairness to customers and satisfaction in the products they purchase or consume.
He pointed out the global convergence in sophistication and expectations of consumers, noting that on other issues, “governments may be at different levels or be going in different directions, but consumers are not” and as such, consumers should be treated fairly and equally irrespective of their location, opining that a consumer protection regulatory challenge in any part of the world can damage a brand internationally.
He reiterated on the need for companies to prioritize consumer protection, diligence, transparency and forthrightness in dealing with consumer protection authorities.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Group Managing Director of Flour Mills Nigeria PLC, Mr. Paul Gbededo described AFBTE as a group of industries that have daily encounters with Nigerian consumers.
Gbededo said members of the association were eager to collaborate with the Council and happy to be regulated by the government agency, noting that they are conscious that if consumers are not happy with them, their businesses would not go well, adding that partnership between the association and the Council will be for the good of the country and the numerous consumers of their various products.