FCCPC Issues Stern Warning Against Food Price Gouging
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has issued a stern warning to participants in the food chain sector, cautioning against indiscriminate hikes in food prices. Acting Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, emphasized that the commission would not tolerate price gouging and warned of swift and severe legal consequences.
According to Abdullahi, surveillance efforts by the FCCPC revealed alarming trends of conspiracy, price gouging, hoarding, and other unfair tactics among participants in the food chain distribution and retail levels. He expressed concern that such practices were taking advantage of consumers’ anxiety and vulnerability, leading to inflated prices.
Abdullahi condemned these actions as obnoxious, unscrupulous, exploitative, and illegal, noting that they restricted and distorted competition in the food market. He issued a clear warning to businesses engaged in price gouging, urging them to desist immediately or face legal repercussions.
While acknowledging the Federal High Court’s recent order directing the government to regulate prices of certain food commodities, Abdullahi highlighted the unusual nature of such intervention in a free market. He affirmed that while the FCCPC is not mandated to regulate prices, it may advise the President to fix prices based on empirical evidence in exceptional circumstances.
The Commission is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, along with other stakeholders, to develop measures to curb excessive food prices. Abdullahi stressed the importance of empirical data in identifying the root causes of unfair pricing practices in the food sector, emphasizing that enforcement actions should be based on evidence.
Consumers are encouraged to report any illegal, exclusionary, or restrictive practices contributing to unfair food prices to the FCCPC through its designated portal. The FCCPC remains committed to addressing key consumer protection and competition issues in the food chain sector to safeguard consumers’ interests and promote fair market practices.