FG Warns FCMGs, Others Over Arbitrary Price Increase
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has warned local manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) over arbitrary increases in the price of consumer goods.
The body sets up to protect consumers in Nigeria said it would no longer tolerate the exploitation of consumers through arbitrary and unregulated commodity price increases in the name of rising inflationary rates in the country.
Prices of food and other items have been on the rise unabatedly since 2020 which manufacturers attribute to the ravaging effects of the Covid 19 pandemic, and insecurity in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera told InsideBusiness.ng that the commission discovered that FMCGs are deliberately hiking the prices of goods items and hiding behind the current macroeconomic challenges in the country without considering the weak purchasing power of many Nigerian consumers.
Irukera explained that the commission would apply its statutory power to engage manufacturing firms and FMCGs who arbitrarily exploit Nigerian consumers by imposing price increments freely without the recourse of informing the FCCPC.
According to him, the FCCPC condemned a situation whereby some Fast-Moving Consumer Goods operators used their monopoly to price adjustment, saying that such misconduct within their activities, or any conspiracy or even any conduct that was meant to restrict supply or manipulate distribution or market in a way that would bring benefits to them, would meet a swift action of the Commission.
Irukera said: “One of the things that come when a few players in any industry have no competition is to sacrifice quality, innovation, choice and price”.
“So, what we do, is to look at the industries where this is happening and we will engage them”, saying further, “We won’t just enforce regulations because some market naturally adjusts to monopoly or concentrated like that.
“So what we do is to just look more, scrutinize more and many of these companies know that we are watching very keenly. If we see any misconduct within their activities, any conspiracy or even any conduct that is meant to restrict supply or manipulate distribution in the market in a way that will bring benefits to them we will quickly get engaged with them.
Speaking further, “Some of the bigger issues are from companies that will just cut prices below cost so that others who can’t operate or survive are forced to be at their mercies. In cases like that, we will come up with regulatory commodity prices”.
He said the commission is currently looking at the direction of those industries to see things that can be effected to bring succour for the consumers.”
The FCCPC boss stated that allowing high prices in a certain market does not indicate regulatory failure but a product of the structure of the market, promising that the commission will intervene and correct the market to prevent arbitrary commodities’ price increases.
“A lot of our work this year has been in conflict resolution area with some deviation and some consideration. It is good for both parties to agree on conflict resolution.
” Like I said to you, First, we want to let people know that they have a right and in addition to that one, there is a process. But the reality is that there is enforcement of rights and complaint resolution.
“We must get to a place whereby it’s the companies that tell consumers about their rights and the mechanism for enforcement. These companies have found a way to get their products into homes, even in most remote villages in this country. They have found a way to advertise after several years of research and development to determine how to advertise on how to get people to learn about their products. Those are the best vehicles to also teach the consumers about their rights.”