By Naing Oo (DOCA)
Myanmar of today is keeping abreast with the world nations having started gaining a good development velocity. Alongside trade relations with the countries from the international community, Myanmar is importing different types of products and the consumers are extensively using foreign personal and household goods in this day and age. Today is age of information and different kinds of news are available in a short time. Some are satisfactory and some tragedy. Some give a laugh rather than a cry. Some news stated that a child of having sore eyes mistakenly used superglue instead of eye-drops and so he had to go to hospital for medical treatment. Soap water was wrongly used in the plantations in place of pesticides. Some vomited after unknowingly eating tube food with the pictures of pig and chicken, food supplement for pig and chicken, thinking it the snack. Some saw deaths as they took same size medicines instead of taking cardiac medicine. Some lost beauty as they applied itch medicament thinking it as facial cream. Some were dead because they mistakenly drank methyl alcohol instead of alcohol. Some saw untimely deaths because they took medicines with misleading advertisements, claiming that they can completely cure cancer and AIDS.
The incidents mentioned above are common among more than 51 million consumers. The main cause of these incidents is that personal and household goods locally manufactured and imported from other countries do not display Myanmar language expression most of the consumers can well understand. These are of course tragedy incidents. The consumers will be able to face danger of something unpleasant unless necessary measures as to both domestic and imported goods are taken in time. Just like the idea like ‘Prevention is better than cure’ prompt actions are required to be taken before the occurrence of the unpleasant incidents.
The consumers may happen to losses as personal and household goods do not show clear Myanmar language expressions. The entrepreneurs must display the expressions of Myanmar language or jointly with other ones on the label of the products. Such expression is a proof that it is claimed goods and services can be used as they are protected from danger or harm.
If the entrepreneurs manufacture and distribute the goods, it is necessary for them to display information about the usage of the goods and required instructions by Myanmar language or Myanmar jointly with other languages. In so doing, the consumers come to know usage, storage, allergic reaction and side effects as to the product.
With the purpose of ensuring more protection for more than 51 million consumers in Myanmar, the entrepreneurs must manufacture personal and household goods meeting the international norms to penetrate into the international market upholding business ethics. In cooperation with the relevant departments and the consumers, the entrepreneurs have to conduct negotiations how to overcome the challenges and the difficulties. The products must be in conformity with international rules and regulations and they mustn’t harm the consumers. The consumers must enjoy full consumers’ rights. The entrepreneurs must have the habit of observing ethics. Local and foreign goods and services must display in Myanmar language or Myanmar jointly with other language so that the products and the services can win the trust of the consumers and the consumers can use them in a safe way without suspicion.
Consumer protection is to protect the rights of the consumers, but it isn’t aimed at harming the interest of the entrepreneurs. It is a useful mission to help develop businesses running in line with ethics. On the other hand, the work of consumer protection is to pledge that the consumers must fully enjoy the rights. Moreover, it is also responsible for the consumers’ access to safe and secure goods and services. According to the provisions prescribed in the consumer protection law, it has to remedy losses and damages in conformity with the international norms of the consumers. On the other hand, it has to arrange with the entrepreneurs about the holding of the meetings and discussions in order to produce goods and services in accord with the international norms during which suggestions have to be given and information has to be shared. It also helps the entrepreneurs expand the goods and services into both the domestic and international markets.
In line with the 2019 Consumer Protection Law issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Commerce, hoping the interest of the consumers, notifications are issued in accord with the international criteria, saying that locally-manufactured personal and household goods must display in Myanmar language or Myanmar jointly with other language. There has been an enormous achievement because the consumers pay attention and the entrepreneurs follow the provisions prescribed in the law as well. It is a proof claiming personal and household goods in Myanmar market can be used undoubtedly because they display logo and necessary information in Myanmar language or Myanmar jointly with other language. I thank the consumers and the entrepreneurs for their participation and observance of the rules.
In the past, the cement of Horse Head Logo manufactured by the Ministry of Industry displayed the direction of use in Myanmar language and it gained popularity because of good quality. A variety of cement logos have been now seen in Myanmar at a time when Myanmar is building a new nation with all-round development. A great amount of cement is being manufactured and distributed locally and internationally. However, most of cement brands are weak in expressing directions for use, positive and negative effects, preventable ways as well as information. Most of the cement brands display only English language expression. Out of these cement brands, SCG Poland Cement manufactured by Mawlamyine Cement Limited from Mon State is being enormously distributed to local and foreign markets. The SCG Poland Cement brand shows respect to local and foreign consumers and places emphasis on laws, orders and directives released from the respective countries. For example, when cement bags are distributed to Myanmar, every cement bag displays direction for use, concrete standard specification and mixture ratio in Myanmar language. The ratio of the mixture can be changed according to the instructions of the engineer.
Regarding the recommendations, when the mixture is already used, water must be sprinkled to prevent the appearance of the crack within one to three days. After the cement bag is opened, it should be used up within day. The cement bags should be kept in the places where there is no moisture, especially in the shady places. Cement powder can harm the eyes severely. The exposure to the wet mixture with the cement and the water can cause inflammation because of alkali reaction. Chromium might cause allergic reaction. Gloves and safety shoes should be worn when handling the cement by shielding the eyes. It is important not to breathe the cement powder in. If the exposure to the cement or if the cement powder is breathed in, basic medical treatment should be given to the victim immediately. The victim should breathe in and out in the places where there is fresh air and undergo medical treatment. If cement powder is swallowed, the victim must immediately drink much water without vomiting. Don’t carry the cement bag by bending down. The cement bags should be kept in the place out of the reach of the children. The said-above information is clearly written in Myanmar language. The consumers can use a product undoubtedly by following information each cement bag displays. Similarly, other same businesses running in Myanmar should give information in Myanmar language by showing respect to the consumers if they distribute their products in Myanmar.
The business following commercial ethics respect laws, by-laws, orders and directives issued from the relevant departments. Special attention is paid to the needs and satisfaction of the consumers. Products are sold at a reasonable price without taking profit too much. Good attitude must be shown to the consumers, and accountability and responsibility must have toward the consumers. The first priority is to ensure safety for the consumers. Emphasis is very much on producing goods and providing services that is beneficial to the consumers. Great care is not to have negative effects on the environment and the consumers. The rights of the consumers should be respected and valued so that the business will be able to last longer.
Recognizing and accepting the rights of the consumers, the entrepreneurs have to produce and distribute goods and services in an honest manner. From the production processes to the mouths of the consumers, the entrepreneurs are responsible for the production of the goods and services in order to meet the satisfaction of the consumers in every process of manufacturing, transporting and distributing by taking full responsibility and accountability.
The consumers are the masters who help develop the businesses of the entrepreneurs. The consumers of the 21st century pay attention to product label requirement on such as effectiveness, durability and safety once they use personal and household goods and services. Satisfaction can vary according to the different peer groups. Only if the entrepreneurs take into account of weather, time and situation as well as satisfaction of peer groups can they establish their businesses capable of lasting longer and can they achieve success.
The measures to protect the rights of consumers are very delicate. Instead of taking severe actions and giving punishment in line with the orders and directives, the consumers and the entrepreneurs are required to perform the tasks of their own volition as they are citizens. Under the provisions described in the Consumer Protection Law (2019), the consumers can use safe and secure goods and services in accordance with consumer rights. On the other hand, regarding the goods and services, the entrepreneurs have to conduct education and negotiation and distribute information in order to produce goods and provide services to ensure conformity with the international norms for the purpose of ensuring the businesses can stand longer.
The Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Commerce is giving a hand with the announcement of necessary laws and directives so as to protect consumer rights, remedy the losses and impacts, manufacture and distribute the products by the entrepreneurs in line with the international norms and expand the domestic and international markets. It is aimed at protecting the rights of consumers and strengthening long term interests of the entrepreneurs. The orders are issued by seeking approvals step by step and finding out the solution after negotiating with the related departments, association and experts for several times. The DCA is taking preventive measures intended to try to stop the losses before the occurrence to contribute toward the interest of 51 million consumers and entrepreneurs, longevity of the people in the prosperous community, the development of the country and resemblance to international norms.
Success will be within the limit when measures to protect consumer rights are taken by a single department only. But, if the consumers, the entrepreneurs and the relevant associations join hands each other, success will be achieved in a short time with an expectation of serving the interests of the State and the people. Translated by Htut Htut (Twantay)