FG Vows Clampdown On Traders Inflating Commodity Prices

The Federal Government has vowed to take stringent regulatory measures against traders “unfairly inflating prices” of goods and commodities.

The government, through its agency, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), expressed worry that despite the recent appreciation of the Naira against the dollar, consumers continue to face escalating costs without a corresponding decrease in prices of goods and commodities.

“This situation is unacceptable, and the FCCPC is committed to protecting consumers from exploitation,” the Commission’s chief Adamu Abdullahi said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The FCCPC understands the significant financial strain these rising prices are placing on Nigerian households. As a result, the Commission is taking proactive steps to address this issue.

“While the FCCPC cannot directly regulate prices, the Commission will utilise its existing legal framework to enforce fair competition and consumer protection provisions.

“This includes monitoring and investigating unusual price hikes, addressing complaints filed by consumers, and taking action against any businesses found to be engaging in anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing, price gouging or cartel formation.”

The Commission said its operatives have been directed to intensify monitoring of both formal and informal markets, where businesses may be taking advantage of market conditions to unfairly inflate prices, and ramp up enforcement activities.

“The operatives will be working collaboratively with trade associations, farmer groups, and other stakeholders to identify and remove unnecessary barriers to entry in various sectors, combat price-fixing, and dismantle cartels. This will encourage increased competition, ultimately leading to lower prices for consumers.”

‘Economy In Right Direction’

Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, has said that the Nigerian economy is moving in the right direction as policies of the new administration has started slowing down food inflation.

The minister spoke virtually on Channels Television’s Business Incorporated programme on Tuesday from Washington DC where he is attending the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings.

Prices of food and basic commodities have gone through the roof in the last weeks, as Nigerians battle one of the country’s toughest economic crises sparked by the current government’s twin policies of petrol subsidy removal and unification of forex windows.

On Monday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) report showed that the food inflation rate in March 2024 stood at 3.62%, showing a decline of 0.17% from February 2024, when it was 3.79%. But despite the drop recorded by the NBS, many Nigerians have lamented that the reduction has not reflected in the cost of basic food items like garri, millet, yam, bread coupled with energy and housing costs.

Though the naira has appreciated against the dollar in recent weeks, gaining over 40%, from about N1,900/$ to about N1,100/$1 now, inflation rate stood at 33.20% for March 2024 and interest rate at 24.75%.

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