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FG to sanction trade associations over food price hike

The Federal Government, through the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, will begin to roll out sanctions against members of trade associations guilty of anti-competitive practices, indiscriminate and irrational hike of food prices.

Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, said this on Tuesday during a forum organised by the commission to discuss fair food prices.

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

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He said, “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.

“That is what I just 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.”

According to Irukera, some trade unions had constituted cartels to engage in anti-competitive practices that have led to price gouging of basic food items.

He noted that taking a hard line against indiscriminate food price hikes had become imperative in light of the president’s declaration of food security as a national emergency last week.

Irukera said, “Competition regulation and consumer protection is not only to regulate the big companies. It is not only to regulate the formal sector. 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.

Recall that Nigeria’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to 22.79 percent in June 2023 from 22.41 percent in the previous month, according to new data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The NBS had stated that the June inflation rate showed an increase of 0.38 percent when compared to May 2023 inflation rate.

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