Senator Ben Bruce has been pushing the hashtag #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira on Twitter now for a while and I must tell you it’s a good idea although he does make some extreme points sometimes but we all get the idea. I’m not an economist and I don’t need to be one. This is “common sense”, Senator Bruce’s favourite phrase.
But this is what I expect him to push out more rather than the “buy naija to grow the naira”? The Sale of Goods Act 1893. I’m almost certain that most people don’t even know what it is or that it exists.
“The Sale of Goods Act 1893 (56 & 57 Vict. c.71) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which regulated contracts in which goods are sold and bought. Its purpose was to define the rights and duties of the parties (where not expressly defined in the agreement), while specifically preserving the relevance of ordinary contractual principles.”
The Act says United Kingdom quite alright, but since we were colonised by the British, this law is amazingly still applicable in Nigeria up till date and is yet to be reformed in anyway (it doesn’t necessarily need to). However, the Act has moved on from 1893-1979-Consumer Rights Act 2015 in the UK.
The main points here which remain constant in all the transitions of the Act to note:
1. Goods must be as described: Goods sold must match any sample you were shown in-store, or any description in a brochure.
2. Good must be of satisfactory quality.
3. Fit for purpose: This means both their everyday purpose, and also any specific purpose that you agreed with the seller (for example, if you want to buy an iPhone 6s, you should not be sold one with a faulty charging port, speakers etc. when you have not been told about or agreed to OR an iFun 6s or a Powerbank).
We do have a Consumer Protection Council in Nigeria, but the Sales of Goods Act is not included.
With that said, how many traders or manufacturers can live by this? You can imagine being in a situation where you have bought an item that didn’t work as described but getting a refund or an exchange is as good as just buying a brand new item due to frustration from the seller?
This Act and other similar Acts is major reason why big online retailers like Amazon and eBay are far ahead than other brands in the same industry. There is nothing stopping us from having our own local eBay or Amazon in Nigeria (Well except things like this).
If the Act is not enforced or re-enforced, then it will be a case of traders, manufacturers etc. making loads of money and not putting into consideration how their goods will affect consumers both positively and negatively, something which is already too common.