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FG to sanction trade associations hiking food prices excessively

FG to sanction trade associations hiking food prices excessively
July 19
08:57 2023

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it will take action against members of trade associations who engage in indiscriminate hikes in the prices of basic food items.

Babatunde Irukera, chief executive officer (CEO) of FCCPC, spoke on Tuesday at a forum organised by the commission to discuss fair food prices.

The forum was themed, ‘Fair food prices in Nigeria: A high-level forum for better competition’.

Irukera said the federal government would ensure there is no room for anti-competitive practices and irrational hikes in food prices.

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“We will continue to monitor the market, and where we find that prices are excessive or find exploitative conduct, or find that consumers are being taken advantage of, we will intervene. One of the ways of intervening is unlocking the bottlenecks,” he said.

“Associations that come together to determine at what price beans should be sold, associations that come together to decide that nobody in a particular market should take yam, beans or rice from any other person except their members, we will proceed against them.

“Some trade unions had constituted cartels to engage in anti-competitive practices that have led to price gouging of basic food items.”

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According to Irukera, it is necessary to take a hard line against indiscriminate food price hikes, especially at a time when food security has been declared a national emergency.

“Competition regulation and consumer protection is not only to regulate the big companies. It is not only to regulate the formal sector,” he added.

“It is also to regulate the informal sector. In a place like Nigeria, it is even more critical to find a strategy to regulate the informal sector because, at the end of the day, the vast majority of our economy is informal.”

On Monday, TheCable reported that food inflation rose to 25.25 percent in June, an uptick compared to the 24.82 percent recorded in the preceding month.

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Also, last week, President Bola Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food insecurity and identified measures to check food inflation and guarantee price stability.

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