Matero Member of Parliament Miles Sampa cites the 0.5% fine instituted on the Levy Mwanawasa Medical University by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) as a joke when institutions such as DSTV’s Multichoice, and Mobile Service Providers are the big fat elephants in the room.
Mr Sampa noted that the news that CCPC has fined the Levy Mwanawasa Medical university 0.5% of its gross annual sales is Africa’s biggest joke because the Zambian owned university built from taxpayers’ money was found guilty of not awarding its students degrees when they should have, but regardless of why that happened, CCPC is out of order.
Mr Sampa added that the affected students should have indeed graduated at the scheduled date from the public institution but herein lies a huge problem with the CCPC, as they seem scared of biting the real corporate business offenders such as DSTV’s Multichoice but are happy to nail the non-arm-twisting Quasi Government Institutions such as the Medical University.
He noted that essentially it is the Ministry of Commerce sending a penalty fee to the Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Health of which in the end it’s the taxpayers being punished to indirectly fund the University twice.
“To raise or recover that 0.5% charge that is in millions of Kwachas, the University is likely to increase their fees, the incremental cost will then land inside parents or guardians personal bank accounts that are already far stretched with other economic challenges,” he noted
He cited that the CCPC penalty may see an increased number of University dropouts who are potential medical Doctors that are urgently needed in the Constituency Hospitals and Clinics.
“The Medical University is relatively new and should be supported more by any means necessary on its teething problems rather than canning it,” he said
Furthermore, Mr Sampa highlighted that DSTV’s Multichoice, mobile phone companies such as Airtel, MTN and ZAMTEL, Banks mobile money fees or transactions, shop rentals at Malls and high-end landlords are the main culprits that CCPC should be reprimanding with huge penalties as they are well known for repeatedly stamping on Zambians thus causing perpetual public outcries.
Mr Sampa explained that these institutions are all abusing and stealing from their clients (Consumers) by continuing to charge the same prices that they did when the USD/ZMK exchange rate was in the range of K20, and now the Dollar is about K15 which means that they are stealing K5 per transaction from each Zambian that is their customer.
He added that the argument that FOREX is not their main cost factor in pricing actually so confirms the opposite which means that even when the Kwacha depreciates, they should not increase their prices as not all their costs are FOREX based and if they can’t pass their huge FOREX revaluation gains to their customers, at least they should pass them to their Zambian workers.
“I can bet they have not increased their workers’ salaries or bonuses since the Kwacha started to gain many months ago,” he said
“The Zambian Customers have cried enough especially on the ever over charging fees from DSTV and cell phone companies, as they are making huge per head profits out of Zambians which is far more than what they are making in their country of origin like South Africa or any other SADC country,” he added
Mr Sampa alluded that the current CCPC Board Members are cowards who should resign or be fired for betraying the Zambian Consumers.
He mentioned that the first thing the new board should do is as per usual is go on a lavish workshop in Livingstone or Bonanza but except this time there should just have one item on their agenda namely what the acronym CCPC stand for and they will discover that indeed the nomenclature legally stands for ‘Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’.
“In reality however CCPC means ‘Customers People Customer’,” he said
Mr Sampa noted that CCPC should never abandon or ignore constant cries from the Zambian customers who are being abused or robbed through exorbitant pricing and bad services especially from DSTV, Airtel, MTN, ZAMTEL, Commercial Banks, Malls and Landlords.