This affirmation was made on Thursday, September 23rd,2021, when the DG, Imo CPC, Hon. Mrs Obioma Okafor led some members of her management to a courtesy visit to the office of the permanent secretary ministry of commerce and industry, at the state secretariat complex, portharcourt road, Owerri Imo State.
Speaking during the visit, the workaholic DG of Imo CPC, Mrs Obioma Okafor said the purpose of their visit was to see how the ministry of could better assist CPC and her enlightenment and awareness programmes on improving consumer protection in Imo State.
It is important to state categorically that CPC is an agency under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In other words, Ministry of C&I is the parent ministry to consumer protection council. This, perhaps, places the ministry in a position to play varieties of mandated roles and responsibilities to ensure the effective realization of CPC core mandates.
According to Mrs Okafor, this can only be possible through a smooth and more cordial relationship between CPC and the ministry of commerce and industry to ensure that imolites are adequately protected.
She further stated that the office of the Permanent Secretary (PS) and the entire management of ministry of commerce and industry have lots of administrative supports to render to CPC which ranges from facilitating CPC staff promotions, ensures that CPC budget proposal receives adequate attention it deserves for the provision of major operational equipments such as vehicles, laboratory/ testing equipments, awareness materials, staff training/capacity building etc by the state government to enhance performance and effective implementation of the council’s programmes.
Moving forward, the CPC Chief Executive, narrated her achievements since her appointment as the DG by Governor Hope Uzodimma, in April 2020.
She said, prior to her appointment as the DG, the agency was moribund, unproductive and it’s structures weren’t conducive for any official duties. It was a clear case of neglect from the previous administration. “I met a CPC that lacked the will power to drive home it’s statutory mandates.”
Mrs Okafor reiterated that before now, the imo State Consumer Protection Council was considered to be non-existing which implies that nothing was working. The staff were not properly motivated in terms of prompt payment of salaries, for the past fourteen years no staff of CPC was promoted, majority of them are still in the same grade level they were employed and this made the agency drift away from the eyes of the public and it’s activities began to fade away from the eyes of the public.
But the good news is that when the shared prosperity government of Senator Hope Uzodimma came on board, having understood the situation and the level of damages caused by fake and adulterated products in the state, took a bold step to revive Imo CPC.
Within my first four months in office, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodimma approved the relocation of CPC office from old Orlu road secretariat to where we are now at area P, adjacent ISOPADEC office, new Owerri for effective protection of consumers in the state.
Today, the narrative has changed, Imo State CPC has become a beehive of activities as we have reclaimed the public’s trust and have rebranded the image of the agency. Both the producers, service providers and consumers have the confidence to relate with CPC and also follow official guidelines in the interest of consumers, while defaulters are made to face the full wrath of the law.
In line with His Excellency’s “3R” mantra of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Recovery, Imo CPC has initiated “3R” of Refund, Replace or Repair, and it is compulsory that a consumer must get any of these “R” in any unsatisfactory transaction. Recently, CPC is collaborating with IMSUBEB to organise school debate under its programme called, *”shared prosperity catch them young initiative”* aimed at sensitizing the children to know their basic rights as consumers. So far, we have launched the first indeginous measurement cups for selling of grains in imo State to reduce the rate of shortchange consumers experiences in the hands of grain dealers in the market.
Mrs Okafor also stated that her target in CPC is to complement the vision of our dynamic governor, His Excellency Senator Hope Uzodimma in making the state a safer place where we can enjoy quality goods and services.
Welcoming Mrs Obioma Okafor and her team, the permanent secretary, ministry of C&I, Dr. (Mrs) Nlebedum P. N stated that both CPC and ministry of C&I have collective responsibility of working for the overall interest of the state and it’s people. She thanked the DG and her team for such visit and acknowledged the need for greater synergy between the two agencies.
On behalf of ministry of commerce and industry,, Dr. Nlebedum commended the DG Imo CPC on her laudable achievements.