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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Changing of the guard at the CPA is not as exciting as we had hoped

Changing of the guard at the CPA is not as exciting as we had hoped: Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) head Rady Abdel Moty Ali gave his first interview since his appointment as the replacement of Atef “Smiley Face” Yakoub earlier this month. From his statements to Al Ahram, we sense that Yakoub will be present in spirit, as Ali repeated his predecessor’s zealous rhetoric on strong market regulation, with repeated references to “greedy merchants.” Yes, we know, we have to discount the rhetoric by at least 50% because it targets a mass audience, but still…

Some of his pronouncements have us a little perturbed. Most notable among them is the CPA’s attempt to turn us all into snitches, including by launching a Whatsapp number on which to receive complaints. The CPA’s strategy under his leadership appears to be (a) improve consumer awareness of their rights through media campaigns and (b) hire more inspectors and monitoring staff.

The silver lining: He never once mentioned price controls, a threat his predecessor had tossed around in the manner of a Roman emperor. The Consumer Protection Act, which Yakoub helped draft, put in place mechanisms to enforce price controls with approval from the Ismail Cabinet. The other positive we can make out is that the agency still needs to form a committee to hash out how the new act gets implemented, which will mean that enforcing the Consumer Protection Act may take longer than previously expected. The act, which passed the House of Representatives in April, is currently with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to be signed into law, said Ali.

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