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National Assembly

New fair trading law to better protect consumers and businesses |26 May 2022

A new fair trading law that willconsolidate, review and revise the different laws relating to fair trading, competition and consumer protection in order to align and harmonise them with international best practices will come into effect soon.

The new law will repeal the Fair Trading Commission Act, (Cap 267), the Fair Competition Act, (Cap 266) and the Consumer Protection Act (Cap 257).The Fair Trading Commission will be established under the new law as the central institutional organ for effective administration of the new Fair Trading law.

The new law will set up a Fair Trading Tribunal to deal with appeal cases against the decisions of the Fair Trading Commission (FTC).

The introduction of the tribunal is not only commendable as a principle of best international practice but is also considered as good for democracy and rule of law.

Members of the Assembly have voted unanimously to approve the new law. Members debated and went over to amend where necessary the different clauses of the new law in committee stage during the whole of Tuesday afternoon and for the whole day until the early evening of yesterday.

Presenting the Fair Trading Bill 2022 that will establish the new Fair Trading Act 2022 for Assembly members’ consideration and approval during the Assembly sitting on Tuesday afternoon,  the Minister for Finance, National Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan, explained that the new law aims to reinforce consumer protection, competition in business and create a  more efficient structure to deliver judgment when and where necessary.

But why the need for a new law? Minister Hassan said that after more than 10 years in effect, the business and economic environment as well as consumers and their behaviour have evolved both locally and internationally so the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has found it necessary  to revise, introduce and reinforce different components  of its laws.

“Lessons learnt and weaknesses identified under the old law have also been addressed,” Minister Hassan noted, while at the same time admitting that the old law has done a lot to protect consumers and businesses but with the new law being proposed the Fair Trading Commission will have new powers to address different issues that arise.

He informed Assembly members that the FTC has carried out the necessary consultations with concerned parties both locally and internationally in its process to develop the new law.

The new law provide for different new elements namely;

- the setting up of a tribunal under the Judiciary as a more transparent, just and efficient way to deal with defaulters. The tribunal will be administered by a magistrate working full time and directly under  the Judiciary.

- provisions for fixed penalties and an increase in penalties

- corporate immunity an important tool to fight against cartel.

Meanwhile Minister Hassan has said that all elements related to consumer protection and the integration of all enterprises in the financial sector will be overseen by the Central Bank of Seychelles and this will allow for the FTC to focus on other activities in other areas which are possibly affecting consumers and businesses.

The introduction of a R5 million cap on all consumer complaints but this will be revised if necessary by the minister in consultation with the FTC every year.

The law provides for consumers to submit their complaints within a period of two years instead of three as was the case previously.

Compounding of offences is another provision of the new law and it allows for cases to be dealt with faster.

“With the new law it is clear that consumer protection and competition in business will take a new dimension while investigations conducted by the FTC will have new momentum with all the provisions in the new law,” Minister Hassan affirmed.

While consumers and businesses have their role to play, the law for its part will strengthen their rights and protection but they should not forget their responsibility as individuals and businesses.

Meanwhile the FTC is stepping up its consumer and business education campaign and an education plan for the new law has already been approved by the CEO of the FTC while an education officer has been appointed as proof of the FTC’s serious commitment in educating consumers and businesses.


Marie-Anne Lepathy




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