Under the Price Control Act, it is imperative for the Nigerian government to take decisive action and intervene diligently to safeguard the majority of its people. This responsibility entails implementing effective price control mechanisms that shield citizens from any form of exploitation. According to Femi Falana, an esteemed Nigerian Senior Advocate, he insists that ensuring the prevention of economic monopoly in the country is crucial. He stresses the importance of avoiding concentration of economic power in the hands of a select few individuals or entities.
Femi Falana recently engaged in a conversation with Shola Soyele, a correspondent from Channels Television. The discussion took place in light of his lawsuit against the federal government of Nigeria, wherein he accuses them of neglecting their responsibility to regulate the escalating costs of vital commodities. According to the Bola Tinubu administration, Nigeria is currently experiencing an abundance of food. The statement regarding this matter was made by the Minister of Information a few days back.
Price of food items increases rapidly day after day.
However, the soaring prices have created a challenging situation for a significant portion of the population, as they are unable to afford the exorbitant costs. According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, the government is obligated by the Price Control Act to regulate the prices of essential goods in order to prevent unnecessary hunger among Nigerians. The prevailing situation is significantly dire, as the price of food items increases rapidly day after day.
This is evident when one buys a product today only to find its price spiked when they visit the market the next day. The contention presented suggests that the rising inflation is manageable for well-off individuals, but it has become increasingly unaffordable for the average Nigerian population to obtain essential goods and services within the existing hands-off government policies. Consequently, an immediate intervention by the government is imperative, in accordance with the prevailing legislation.
Why are subsidies not applicable to food and medicines?
The Senior Advocate raised a compelling query regarding the disparity in treating essential goods and services. He pondered why subsidies were used to regulate electricity tariffs, telecom rates, and petrol pump prices, while other fundamental necessities such as food, medicines, and diesel were being allowed to skyrocket, significantly diminishing the purchasing power of the people. The mandate was handed down by the Lagos-based Federal High Court on February 7, 2024, instructing the Federal Government to establish the prices of commodities and petroleum substances within a week from the day.
More so, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, filed a motion and argued it before Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa. As a result, the order was granted by the judge. Falana brought the Price Control Board and the Attorney General of the Federation to court, naming them as defendants. The purpose was to ascertain if the first defendant is fulfilling its responsibility to establish prices for goods outlined in the First Schedule of the Price Control Act, based on Section 4 (1) of the Act from 2004.
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According to an affidavit provided by Taiwo Olawanle, a legal practitioner from the same firm as the Senior Advocate who obtained the summons, various goods are included in the Price Control Act. These commodities encompass bicycles and their spare parts, flour, matches, milk, motorcycles and their spare parts, motor vehicles and spare parts, salt, sugar, and petroleum products such as diesel, petrol motor spirit, and kerosene. In addition, he pointed out that the Act grants the Price Control Board the authority to establish prices for this diverse range of products.
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