Nigerian Manufacturers Call for Fair Regulatory Framework to Protect Against Social Media Trial

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Following a recent experience involving Erisco Foods and a dissatisfied customer, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has called for a balanced regulatory environment that would protect manufacturers from defamation and social media trial and at the same time safeguard the interests of the general public.

MAN made the call on Monday, in a statement titled, “Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Advocates for Balanced Regulatory Environment,” which was issued by the Director General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir.  

Ajayi-Kadir, urged regulators and the buying public to “engender an atmosphere that promotes objectivity and fairness, whilst safeguarding the interest of the consumer and protecting the business and integrity of the manufacturer.”

He also emphasised, “the need for intentional steps to protect manufacturers from the adverse effects of social media trial and defamation and ensuring fairness for all stakeholders,” adding that “manufacturers should be protected from the adverse effects of unverified negative claims about locally manufactured products.”

The director general made the appeal while addressing the, “Impact of Social Media Defamation,” which he argued could significantly affect manufacturing businesses and even threaten their existence.

He added that there was need for measures that would recognise challenges faced by manufacturers in Nigeria and at the same time encourage consumers’ patronage and empathy.

The director general acknowledged and encouraged consumers’ right to voice legitimate complaints through appropriate channels, but underscored the significance of holding consumers accountable for spreading false information about local products and attempting to vilify local manufacturers in the public opinion place.

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He pointed out that a recent experience between Erisco Foods and its dissatisfied customer highlighted the need for equal protection of manufacturers and consumers’ rights.

“The case underscored the importance of diligent investigation as carried out by the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, which exonerated the manufacturer of the said product.

“The two agencies should actually be commended for unraveling the truth of the case,” he said.

MAN highlighted the challenging business environment in Nigeria and emphasisedthe critical role of consumer patronage in maintaining the viability of local manufacturing businesses.

MAN also stressed the negative impact of unverified statements on businesses, even when product validation has confirmed their quality, and urged government agencies to take deliberate steps to protect manufacturers while protecting the right of the consumer.

It also called for a shift in consumer behavior towards patronising domestic goods and showcasing their quality to the global market.

The association underscored the importance of mutual accountability between manufacturers and consumers to foster economic growth in Nigeria.

Furthermore, MAN added that its advocacy has always underscored the importance of balanced regulatory policies that would protect manufacturers while upholding consumer rights in order to foster a conducive environment for sustainable business growth in Nigeria and the wellbeing of its people.   

 Dike Onwuamaeze

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