We’re not hijacking NCAA’s responsibilities, rights – CPC

Recently, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) clashed after a Maiduguri-bound Med-View Airline flight from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja aborted take-off.
The CPC, which is empowered to intervene in consumers’ complaints emanating from the purchase of goods or services, swiftly issued a press statement on the incident.
That incident set both agencies on a collision course as NCAA argued that CPC was trying to usurp its (NCAA’s) function as it relates to aviation.
However, the Director – General of CPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, has said in a recent interview that complaints from the industry ranked third in 2017, after electricity and banking, stressing that considering the importance of aviation as a catalyst for economic expansion, protecting consumer rights should not be seen as usurping the roles of the NCAA.
Specifically, he said complaints from consumers have gone up 40 per cent while resolution has also increased to over 78 per cent within the same reporting period in the country.
He said NCAA does not have mutual exclusivity to cover aviation maintaining that the agency may not always protect the consumer because they have become close to operators.
“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.
“There is a consumer protection unit in the NCAA; it is not mutual exclusivity, it is not entirely a cover of that field. It is 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. But the best working mechanism is the collaboration between the CPC and NCAA,” he said.

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