Agenda Included the Preparation of a National Strategy to Coordinate and bring together the Efforts of all Government Agencies
Consumer Protection Standing Committee held its first meeting under the chairmanship of H.E. the Minister of Commerce and Investment, Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, at the Ministry Headquarters on Thursday, 12.01.2017 AD, with the participation of representatives of the government agencies. The aforementioned Committee takes into consideration to be guided with the best global practices and experiences, relevant to consumer’s protection, and to review the current regulations and legislation in force in the Kingdom, so that to have access to the best applications and practices that enable all government agencies to play their role in protecting consumers and keeping their rights.
The participants discussed the efforts coordination among the relevant authorities to prepare a national strategy that would contribute to bring together all the efforts related to consumer protection, in addition to the development of necessary mechanisms and programs to activate fully the roles, functions and competencies of such authorities, to be reviewed and updated periodically.
H.E. Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, MCI Minister, and chairman of the Consumer Protection Standing Committee, stressed the importance of role integrating of the concerned parties, and the need to exert their efforts to preserve and protect the rights of consumers.
H.E. Dr. Al Qasabi explained that the said Committee began to identify priorities and develop action plan to implement the Cabinet decision, pointing out also the importance of preparing National Strategic Plan for consumer protection and for preserving his rights against any harmful practices, bearing in mind the elimination of functions duplication of the relevant authorities.
For his part, H.E. Abdul Rahman Al Mansour, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, member of the committee, confirmed that the first meeting of the Consumer Protection Standing Committee drew future action plan and initiated the first step for coordinating and enhancing the efforts among various government authorities for the benefit of the consumer.
H.E. Al Mansour added: "We look forward to work together with other authorities, concerned with consumer protection, to implement the vision of our wise government, in developing the Consumer Protection sectors , as well as enhancing the cooperation level and having exchange of experiences among the committee members."
For his part, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Al Nasser, Executive Director of the Local Markets Control, at the General Authority for Food and Drug, member of the said committee, expressed his optimism for launching the agenda of the Consumer Protection Standing Committee, because this committee plays an importance role in bringing the efforts together and for having the integration among the concerned parties, which would contribute in developing comprehensive concepts and methods for the consumer protection.
H.E. Al Nasser pointed out that: "The first meeting of the aforementioned committee was fruitful, during which the participants exchanged views and experiences in the field of consumer protection."
H.E. Engr. Saud Al Askar, Deputy Governor of the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, member of the committee, said that the main objective of this committee is to bring the efforts together and to reach the best practices in consumer protection, pointing out that the membership of the concerned authorities in such committee would contribute to review and update the current regulations and legislation for having a comprehensive national strategy.
H.E. Abdullah Alsoyyan, advisor of SAMA Control Agency, member of the said Committee, expressed his optimism upon the unity of the government's efforts to protect the consumers after the first meeting of the Consumer Protection Standing Committee, he said: "joining several parties, of direct relation with the consumer, in one committee will enhance the efforts in terms of consumer protection, and would contribute in spreading the culture of awareness among consumers".
H.E. Alsoyyan added that the first meeting of the said committee was fruitful and constructive, through which a comprehensive work vision was developed for the coming period. Really, it did shape a start for a constituent work based on understanding and cooperation between the relevant government agencies, thus it would be reflected positively on the consumer protection.
H.E. Obaid Milhan, Director of the Legal Department of the General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage, member of the said Committee, pointed out that the first meeting of the aforementioned committee comes to crystallize the attention of the government on the consumer protection. Therefore, this committee came into existence and included government sectors concerned with consumer protection, in order to bring efforts together, exchange experiences and develop appropriate strategies for the development and advancement of this important sector.
H.E. Mohammed Al Nasser, Director General of Licenses and Systems of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, member of the said committee, said that the Consumer Protection Standing Committee provides an important and vital feature, which is the development of ways of cooperation and coordination between the concerned parties to reach our objectives in protecting the consumer and preserving his rights.
H.E. Al Nasser added: "We look forward, through this committee, to have access to the best practices in the field of consumer protection, via the exchange of opinions and experiences with our colleagues in various government sectors, who are concerned with the consumer protection."
H.E. Eisa Al-Eisa, Advisor of the Public Customs Authority, member of the said committee, confirmed that joining the government agencies, concerned with consumer protection, in one committee, would have a positive impact on the consumer. He added: "The Consumer Protection Standing Committee would provide a stimulating environment through the exchange of information and experiences among the participants, besides organizing and coordinating the efforts among such parties, and that would benefit the consumer and contribute to reduce the phenomenon of commercial fraud".
H.E. Dr. Daifallah Al-Zahrani, Vice Governor of the Commission of Communications and Information Technology, member of the said committee, pointed out that the Consumer Protection Standing Committee will focus on the development of a long-term strategy based on making the consumer aware of his rights and obligations, using the best and latest applications, besides finding out the best operational mechanisms that go on line with the international practices in that regards.
For his part, H.E. Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Qahtani Secretary General of the Consumer Protection Association, member of the said committee, pointed out that the committee would participate in forming and drawing the outlines of the consumer protection strategy and would have promised coordination with the relevant government authorities, stressing the importance of having capabilities with all parties, concerned in consumer protection, and focusing on the importance of separating the competences among such parties, besides specifying the role of each sector in accordance with clear principles.
It is noteworthy that the Cabinet decision stated that the Consumer Protection Standing Committee to be chaired by the Minister of Commerce and investment, and one vice chairman from MCI Deputy Ministry of Consumer Protection, with members from 12 government agencies including: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Health, General Authority for Tourism and National Heritage, Saudi standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, General Authority for food and drug, Department of customs, Commission of Communications and information Technology, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, General Authority for civil Aviation and a representative of Consumer Protection Committee.
Among the tasks and functions of the Consumer Protection Standing Committee is to propose a national strategy for the protection of consumer, to be submitted for approval, besides preparing an operational plan for the implementation of the strategic plan, also making necessary development and to be updated periodically, in addition to coordinate the efforts among the concerned authorities and cooperate with such parties in drawing the general policies, also take action on the development of manpower, working in consumer protection, as well as striving to improve the operation systems at the parties involved in the consumers protection.
According to the Ministerial Decree, it has provided for the addition of a number of tasks for MCI Deputy Ministry for Consumer Protection, included raising suggestion and regulations that would enable to carry out its functions related to consumer protection, as well as cooperate with local and international organizations for the rehabilitation and training of administrative heads in the field of consumer protection, and to disseminate the culture of consumer protection.
The tasks also included determining the procedures and methods of lodging complaints, how to get the rights, the development of systems electronically, in addition to receiving consumer complaints, making necessary study and analysis, cooperation with the relevant authorities to develop solutions, create a database for consumer protection in the Kingdom, to be updated and made available to the relevant public and private entities.