The Consumers Index, a quarterly index calculated by the association, detected a rise of six percent in prices of 157 commodities in the third quarter of 2009.
The report lists three achievements for the government which benefited consumers in 2009.
The first achievement was for the Ministry of Telecommunication “which reduced mobile services costs at a range of eight to 12 percent,” Zuhair Berro President of Consumers Lebanon, said. Berro said that the reduction in prices led to an increase in the number of users to 73 percent from 28 percent. Berro said that the association, alongside the Ministry will work on implementing a law that charges mobile calls in fraction of a second instead of minute.
Another achievement was for the Ministry of Economy, which appointed seventy new observers at the Consumer Protection Directorate for the first time since the issuance of the Consumer Protection Law in 2005. This achievement, according to Berro, improves surveillance for products, protects consumers, and plays a role in alleviating the level of trust between them and the Directorate.
Another accomplishment was for the Ministry of Agriculture which announced an integrated plan that organizes the sale and usage of fertilizers, and drugs applied for agricultural purposes.
The report cites, however, the government’s negligence in responding to many of consumers needs. It also stresses the need to legislate new regulations and laws to protect consumers.
The report points out to the “imbalanced” tax policies implemented. Berro said that the direct and indirect tax policies “add to the instability in the country” especially that 85 percent of families have a low income.
Berro said that the government should approve the draft laws that regulate food safety, the sale of medical drugs, fertilizers, competition, and curb smoking which are essential in protecting consumers’ rights.
Consumers Lebanon is a non profitable NGO dedicated to defend consumers’ rights and interests