The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has issued a stern warning on Friday, urging businesses in the food chain sector to cease any practices that manipulate or inflate food prices.
Acting CEO Adamu Abdullahi announced that the commission was actively monitoring the sector and will not hesitate to take legal action against violators.
Reasons for the Warning:
Abdullahi stated that the FCCPC’s surveillance efforts have uncovered concerning activities within the food chain, including:
Conspiracy and price gouging: Participants were accused of colluding to artificially inflate prices, taking advantage of consumer anxiety and vulnerability.
Hoarding: Businesses were allegedly restricting the supply of food to further manipulate prices.
Unfair tactics: The commission identified other strategies used to distort competition and exploit consumers.
The statement reads, “The Commission’s priority remains to address key consumer protection and competition issues in the Food chain sector.
“The Commission’s surveillance efforts suggest participants in the food chain and distribution sector including at the retail level are engaging in conspiracy, price gouging, hoarding and other unfair tactics/ strategies to restrict the supply of food, manipulate and inflate the price of food in an indiscriminate manner; this conduct violates both moral and legal codes.
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“Taking advantage of consumer anxiety and vulnerability to inflate prices, and restrict or distort competition, is obnoxious, unscrupulous, exploitative and illegal.
“Furthermore, the use of undue influence, imbalance in negotiating power, unfair tact and similar conduct in the marketing and supply of goods and services is contrary to Sections 17 and 124 of the FCCPA., and will be penalised under law.
“Any business participating in activities contributing to price gouging in the food chain sector is hereby warned to desist forthwith or face the full force of the law. The Commission will not tolerate actions compromising the integrity of the food chain sector, and legal consequences will be swift and severe.”
These activities, according to Abdullahi, violate both moral and legal codes. He explicitly mentioned Sections 17 and 124 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), which address unfair market practices and abuse of dominant positions. Businesses engaging in such activities face:
Penalties: The FCCPC has the authority to impose fines for violations of the FCCPA.
Legal consequences: Abdullahi warned that legal action, including prosecution, could be taken against violators.
The FCCPC emphasized its commitment to protecting consumers and ensuring fair competition within the food chain sector.
Abdullahi reiterated that the commission will not tolerate actions that compromise the integrity of the sector and urged businesses to comply with the law.
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