Sunday , 25 September 2022
Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) Babatunde Irukera

CPC is not usurping NCAA’s responsibilities on passengers’ rights

CONSUMER Protection Council (CPC) has insisted that there is no usurping of responsibilities as it concerns its dalliance into matters relating aviation, stating that it’s intervention in aviation matters not only stands to reason but is backed by law.

This is just as the rights protection agency said that complains from consumers have gone up 40% while resolution has also increased to over 78% within the same reporting period in the country.

Director General of the CPC, Babatunde Irukera who made this known today in a chat with correspondents said that the NCAA does not have mutual exclusivity to cover aviation and that sector regulators may not always protect the consumer because they have become close to operators.

According to the CPC helmsman, the world has adopted mutual jurisdictional responsibility for consumer protection in aviation as a norm and this enables a far-reaching resolution for infringements on consumers.

He said,”There is a consumer protection unit in the NCAA it’s not mutual exclusivity, it’s not entirely a cover of that field. it’s because government wants to make sure nothing is wrong. Secondly, sector regulators by their very nature, may not be in the very best position to truly, fully, completely provide end-to-end protection for consumers.”

“What is a regulator really? It is a modulator, a regulator gets involved in relationships it doesn’t create relationships on its own. So you have a sectoral regulator, using the NCAA as example, that is regulating operators and the relationship of operators with consumers. There is a potential for conflict. There is also a potential for what is called regulatory capture because the sector regulator will get to a point where it truly understands the challenges of the operator to a point where it becomes difficult line to determine the divide.”

“So the NCAA constituency is airline, airports consumers, navigational providers, ground service, travel agents all are constituents of the NCAA, but for a consumer protection council, we have only one constituency, the consumers. So we advocate for them (consumers) and we are not trying to balance their rights against any other person’s right. But the best working mechanism is the collaboration between the CPC and NCAA.”

On the possibility of compromise of position, Irukera said: “Where there is a possibility of compromise and I am not making a case for compromise please, I’m just saying where there is a possibility of compromise, who would the market operator rather talk to and compromise for? Someone on the outside whose constituency is different from him or someone who they sit together in the same constituency?and so that is the reason why, there is mutual constituency.”

“I have given you the reasonable reason why but beyond the reasonable reason, there is also a Statutory reason why, the law says so. If you look around in many jurisdictions, you will find without question that mutual jurisdictional responsibility for consumer protection in aviation is a norm. We are not an exception.”

On consumer complaints and resolutions, the DG said that consumers complaints have gone up 40% while resolution has also increased to over 78% and that plans are underway to increase the resolution benchmark to 96% with plans in the coming weeks to deploy an automation system aimed at providing real-time data to the agency.

When asked on particular statistical data Irukera said, “We cannot provide that information in the meantime because our work is very manual and so the figures come in monthly on how many companies, segmented based on industry. But in the coming weeks we are deploying an automation system which is one of the projects I started very early when I got in. With that information we will get real-time data and so if you ask me this by this time next month, I would be able to get it on my iPad and tell you.”

“But I’ll tell you that looking at the last report, the complain we have received have increased to 40% and our conflict resolution have gone up, we are resolving at well over 78% within the same reporting period. The resolution will be over 78% within the reporting period dis as at the time we start and end it we were within 78% but our benchmark is to be able to resolve at least 96% within the reporting period.”

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