EU, Council to launch a Debt Management Brochure

24/02/2015 11:51

The Consumer Council of Fiji with the support of the European Union is scheduled to launch a Debt Management Brochure, this Thursday (26th February) in Suva.

Debt is a reality among Fijian consumers and this brochure, which is an initiative of the Council’s Debt Management and Consumer Credit Advisory Service, highlights real life stories of some consumers who have lived in debt.

The brochure carries their tales of struggles, despair and journey to becoming debt-free by the help of the Council’s Debt Management Service.

Council’s Debt Management and Consumer Advisory Service is an integrated counselling service that empowers and assists consumers who are overwhelmed with debt.

The Council worked with two donors, the European Union (EU) and the Australian aid agency, Australian Government, to embark on projects dealing primarily with debt, and financial literacy not only on money matters but also on the Consumer Credit Act and the review of consumer protection laws in the country.

"Over the years, the European Union has assisted theConsumer Council of Fiji in its consumer justice program.And it is good to see that the Council has been vigorously advocating for a fair, safe and informed marketplace for consumers, with significant achievements.The Council has managed to review the existing consumer protection laws with a view to lobbying for changes and raising awareness of how consumers are protected. The debt management brochure being launched here today, together with the formation of the Community Consumer Advisory Group (CCAG) last year, is significant achievements of the Council," said Mr Johnny Engell Hansen, Chargé d ‘affairs of the European Union Delegation for the Pacific.

Since the inception of this service in December 2011 up until the end of 2014, the Council has assisted 184 consumers who were living in debt, who sought advice on how they could better manage their credit accounts. This is a milestone for the Council as this reflects the transformation in consumers, making efforts to find solutions to end their debt.

The Council is concerned that not all people are hesitant to come forward to discuss their debt issues and to seek help.

There is a culture of silence among our people but the Council will continue to create public awareness to embolden consumers to come forward and talk about their debt.

The launch-proper will be officiated by Johnny Engell-Hansen, Chargé d ‘affairs for the Delegation of European Union for the Pacific in the presence of some consumers who are featured in the brochure.

No debt problem is unsolvable. The first step is to ask for help!