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Business - Economy Updated: April 25, 2024

Business owners tremble as FCCPC go after supermarkets, others

By Felicia Abisola Olamiji
April 25, 2024
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In recent times the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, has being taking several measures to protect market competition and promote consumers' right.

Allnews.ng observed that despite the appreciation of the Naira, prices of food items still remain high.

Meanwhile, FCCPC has stepped up its effort and adopted various ways to ensure that prices of goods and services are being regulated.

Recall that FCCPC recently shut down sahad store in Abuja for alleged stockpiling, extortion, lack of transparency, and misleading prices.

Also, as a way of protecting the rights of consumers, the agency sealed off a Chinese supermarket located at the China general Chamber of Commerce for alleged discriminatory policies implemented by the Chinese restaurant which restricted entry exclusively to its citizens and barred Nigeria.

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Allnews.ng, therefore, reached out to Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, Ag. Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of FCCPC, on Tuesday, who revealed how the commission has adopted several measures to regulate the prices of goods.

He said, "We are not in charge of fixing prices of goods, but we are using the tools available to us that would make the market competitive."

Speaking on the measures used to regulate prices, he said, "For instance, we have discovered that most of these businesses fix prices themselves.

"Under the law, price fixing is an offence. Collusion by two or more people is also an offence."

He also identified another offence as price gouging. According to him, this is when a person arbitrarily increases the price of goods or services to make unusual profits.

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"So, we are putting measures in place to check all of these things because we see these as exploitation of the consumer.

"Normally, every product has its profit which is usually around 25 to 30 per cent.

"So if we come to your place, and check your inventories, we want to see how much you got the product and how much you are selling.

"If you go through the profit margin and see that you got the product at x amount on monday, sold it at xx amount on Tuesday, sold at triple x amount on Wednesday, and quadruple x amount on Thursday, definitely we know that something is wrong.

"Also, if there is any evidence of a meeting where prices have been agreed upon, which is price fixing, one can be prosecuted for that.

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"That is why we sensitise market traders on why price fixing is an offence.

"So, these are some of the indices we use and if we notice that a trader is involved in price gouging, such person will be sanctioned.

Recently, several market surveys have shown that prices continue to rise even beyond what they were when a dollar exchanged with the Naira at N1900.

Today, Naira has regained its strength, dropping the dollar to exchange between N1000 to N1250.

Many have argued that some market forces are responsible for the current inflation rate as things are supposed to have naturally dropped. The argument stemmed from the fact that Nigeria's economy depends on imports. Business people and dealers had all along lamented the strength of the Naira, blaming it for the rising prices of God's and services.

Allnews.ng, however, observes that most food items in the market that are on the constant rise are local foods. This has created doubt as to whether the dollar factor can equally be applied in that situation. For instance, yams, cassava, beans and other food items have continued to be sold exorbitantly to consumers regardless of the current relieved exchanged rate. 

But FCCPC says it is not a food regulatory agency, hence can only operate within its limit of customers' protection.

Meanwhile, Nigerians at different quarters have called on the Nigerian government to ensure a proper and workable price regulation in order to align with the current realities.

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Felicia Abisola Olamiji

  A graduate of English Language from Olabisi Onabanjo University, passionate about learning new...

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