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Thursday, June 13, 2024

FCCPC Has Launched An Investigation Into The Persistent Rise In Food Prices

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has launched a nationwide investigation into the persistent rise in food prices.

During the investigation’s kickoff in Lagos markets yesterday, the FCCPC engaged directly with traders’ associations, marketers, and consumers to gather information and pinpoint the causes of the continuous food price hikes.

At Mile 12 and Ile Epo markets, Acting Executive Vice Chairman Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, represented by the Head of the FCCPC Lagos Office, Suzie Onwuka, stated that preliminary findings suggest some wholesalers and retailers might be involved in price gouging, hoarding, and other unfair practices.

These practices, which restrict competition, limit food supply, and artificially inflate prices, are illegal under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), Abdullahi noted.

The investigation aims to open markets and address key consumer protection and competition issues affecting food prices. Upon completion, the FCCPC will compile a report with recommendations for government action in line with Section 17(b) of the FCCPA.

The FCCPC plans to propose policies to review and regulate economic activities, targeting the elimination of anti-competitive and anti-consumer practices.

Abdullahi emphasized the FCCPC’s commitment to protecting consumers and promoting a fair market environment amid rising concerns over food affordability and accessibility.

However, the Chairman of the Mile 12 International Market, Shehu Usman Jibril, denied allegations of price inflation by retailers, attributing high costs to the substantial expenses involved in procuring goods.

“Nobody is inflating prices. When a basket of tomatoes costs up to N100,000, sellers must cover their costs to avoid losses. Retailers face numerous expenses, including rent, school fees, and transportation, making it a challenging business environment,” he stated.

Jibril also pointed out broader issues affecting food production, such as security concerns, noting that banditry hinders farmers’ ability to produce food.

He stressed the importance of providing security for continued farming and a stable food supply, highlighting the necessity of local farming to meet the needs of Lagos’s population, which exceeds 22 million.

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