FCCPC to Sanction Stores, Cartels over Price Fixing Allegations

James Emejo in Abuja

Acting Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive, Federal Consumer Competition and Protection Commission (FCCPC), Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, has said the commission would begin to sanction open markets, cartels and supermarkets found to engage in price fixing going forward.

Abdullahi said the consumer rights’ commission had also launched an advocacy to educate operators and traders on price fixing procedures.

Price fixing is an illegal practice in which competing businesses agree on setting the price of products or services instead of allowing market forces to determine prices naturally through competition.

This collusion can take various forms and is designed to achieve mutual benefits for the companies involved at the expense of consumers and the competitive market environment.

In Nigeria where the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures the rate of change in prices of good and commodities remained elevated at 33.69 per cent in April, price fixing could further undermine the principles of free competition and fair market practices, leading to higher prices, reduced innovation, and overall market inefficiencies.

And due to its harmful effects on consumers and the economy, it is strictly regulated and heavily penalised under antitrust laws in the country and globally.

However, addressing stakeholders during a one-day sensitisation workshop organised by the commission for students in Nigerian tertiary institutions, Abdullahi said need for sensitisation so traders and supermarket operators will acquaint themselves with the law before sanctions are applied against violators.

The FCCPC boss further disclosed that a committee had been set up and given three months to draw up a curriculum to be rolled out in schools to start teaching Nigerian students more about consumer rights as part of the commission’s mandate.

He said, “We have embarked on advocacy visit to open markets across the country and supermarkets to educate the operators and traders on what the consumer protection law stipulates.

“For instance, you can’t go to the market and see a particular price tag on an item and when you go to pick it, they will tell you the price is higher, it is misleading and deceptive and the law does not allow that.

“Also, those traders in the open markets form associations on different food items like yam, egg, rice and others and sit down to fix prices of such items. They become a cartel of price fixing and we at FCCPC are going there to tell them the law is against that.

“What we are doing now is sensitisation, and after that sanction will follow for those defaulting.”

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