Kazakhstan to expand measures to protect consumer rights

New measures in the field of consumer protection were considered at the Government session, chaired by Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov. 

Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin reported that the number of complaints about violations of consumer rights in the republic is increasing annually. So, only in 2022 MTI considered more than 30.2 thousand appeals. A similar situation is observed in other government agencies.

The majority of citizens are dissatisfied with the quality of medical services, communication services, urban public transportation and public catering services. However, legal advice was provided for 44.8% of appeals received last year, and positive decisions were made for 43.7%. In general, consumers refunded 786 million tenge.

However, on behalf of the Head of State amendments to the legislation aimed at improving the efficiency of the consumer protection system have been prepared. Thus, the introduction of the Ombudsman for the Protection of Consumer Rights, simplification of procedures for addressing complaints of consumers (from 4 to 2 steps), the spread of the basic principles of consumer protection in the areas of utilities, transportation, health, travel and communications services, etc. is provided.

In addition, it is planned to introduce civil liability in the form of a fine by court decision in favor of the consumer, which will motivate business entities to voluntarily satisfy his legal requirements. Also, work will be done to fill the legislative gaps in the segment of online commerce.

In general, as a result of amendments to the level of citizen satisfaction with state regulation in the field of consumer protection by 2025 should reach 80%.

With a comment on the proposed amendments also acted chairman of the National League of Consumers of Kazakhstan Svetlana Romanovskaya. 

The Prime Minister stressed that some of the main reasons for complaints of the population are the sale of low-quality goods, the lack and correctness of the price tags on products, untimely refunds from online shopping.

"Consumers also complain about the quality of services in health care, catering, housing and utilities, and communications. Government agencies do not always review appeals in a timely manner. Often the very cause of the problem is not resolved. In this regard, the Interagency Council on Protection of Consumer Rights should intensify its work," Smailov said.

He added that the amendments made in 2020 to the Law on Protection of Consumer Rights contributed to building a holistic system involving non-governmental organizations and business. However, to achieve more tangible results further improvement of the legal framework is required. For this purpose, new amendments to existing laws were developed.

"It is proposed to introduce the institution of an Ombudsman for the protection of consumer rights. It should become the main coordinator for settling all problems and complaints that arise. In this case it is necessary to simplify the algorithm of consideration of consumers' complaints. Here it is important to build an effective scheme of interaction: consumer community in general and the state," Prime Minister stressed. 

After the voting procedure in support of the proposed bills, the Prime Minister instructed to ensure their submission to the Majilis of the Parliament within the prescribed time frame.

He also noted the need to work on improving the existing national standards that improve the quality of life of the population.

"We need to develop additional measures to stimulate business in terms of improving the quality of services and goods for consumers," Alikhan Smailov concluded.

#Alikhan Smailov #The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan #Government session #Socially Important Food Products #Trade

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