Food costs: FCCPC visits Rivers market, blames distribution system

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has blamed the distribution sector, together with wholesalers and retailers, for the spike within the costs of foodstuffs and different commodities.

The South-South Zonal Coordinator of FCCPC, Uchegbu Chukwuma, disclosed this shortly after taking newsmen on a survey of the favored Oil Mill Market in Port Harcourt.

Chukwuma stated that the fee’s place adopted market inquiries in some states inside the zone, saying that its surveillance efforts recommend individuals within the meals chain and distribution sector resembling wholesalers and retailers, are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, value gouging, hoarding, and different unfair practices to limit competitors out there.

He additional stated such illicit acts prohibit the availability of meals and manipulate and indiscriminately inflate the value of meals, mentioning that such practices, which he termed “obnoxious, unscrupulous, and exploitative,” are unlawful underneath the FCCPA.

The Commission, Chukwuma stated, has been partaking in fact-finding interactions with merchants’ associations and entrepreneurs to establish the elements accountable for the continual hike in meals costs.

The South-South Zonal Coordinator of the FCCPC famous that the fact-finding inquiry was an investigative mission to collect info instantly from the sources and stakeholders in main markets, notably executives, market unions, sellers, and shoppers.

Chukwuma added that the fee’s precedence stays to unlock the markets and tackle key shopper safety and competitors points affecting the costs of commodities within the meals sector.

He said, “FCCPC’s surveillance efforts recommend individuals within the meals chain and distribution sector, together with wholesalers and retailers, are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, value gouging, hoarding and different unfair techniques to limit or distort competitors out there, prohibit the availability of meals, manipulate and inflate the value of meals indiscriminately.

“These obnoxious, unscrupulous, exploitative practices are unlawful underneath the FCCPA.

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“Following this train, the fee would develop a concise report of its inquiry and make suggestions to the federal government according to Section 17(b) of the FCCPA and provoke broad-based insurance policies and overview financial actions in Nigeria to determine and tackle anti-competitive, anti-consumer safety, and restrictive practices to make markets extra aggressive whereas additionally making certain truthful pricing for shoppers.

“As part of our mandate as enshrined in FCCPA section 17B, part of what we do is to advise the Federal Government on policies, especially economic policies, so what we are doing today is what we call a market survey to find out what has been causing this continuous price increase of goods and services in the market places.”

Chukwuma added, “We know that just lately the greenback went up and likewise drove the value of products and companies within the market, however the authorities in its knowledge has accomplished every little thing it might probably to scale back the speed of {dollars} in opposition to naira, however we have now not seen a commensurate discount within the value of products and companies.

“People are saying that at any time when costs go up it can’t come down once more, however we’re asking what drove the price of items and companies and what’s sustaining it, so that’s the reason we have now determined to take this train with the market leaders, the sellers, and likewise the patrons.

“So after we collate this info we’re gathering we use it to advise the federal government on insurance policies and what to do as a result of the entire essence of presidency is for welfare and the safety of the residents.

“So I do know that this present authorities is a authorities that listens if sound arguments and insurance policies are offered. I’m certain that they are going to be keen to purchase into it in order that our shoppers will smile once more.’’

“We have found out that there is a lot of money that people pay from point of purchase. Almost all the people we spoke with said the same from Benue State to this place. Each truck coming here pays not less than N250,000 as illegal fees  enroute their respective destinations.”

South-South PUNCH correspondent, who was a part of the journey, defined that some merchants out there expressed their plight, saying the price of transportation and a number of checkpoints by policemen, who demand tips about the street are accountable for the value hike.

One of the merchants said, “If only petrol prices can come down and these policemen allow us to move freely with our goods, we will sell according to the way we buy the goods.”



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