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FG to sanction Trade Groups over food hike

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Exorbitant prices and exploitative behaviour in food cost is addressed.

The government of Nigeria has issued a threat of sanctions on members of trade associations across the country in response to the indiscriminate and illogical increases in food prices as well as anti-competitive practices. Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), made this announcement on Tuesday during a meeting coordinated by the commission to address fair food prices in the nation. The forum was titled “Fair Food Prices in Nigeria: A high-level forum for better competition.”

Irukera said they are committed to keeping an eye on the market and stepping in if they see anything strange, such as exorbitant prices or exploitative behaviour, or if they see consumers being taken advantage of. Reducing bottlenecks is one kind of intervention. They will take action against associations that gather together to pick at what cost food commodities are to be sold and groups that gather to decide that nobody in a specific market should accept yam, beans, or rice from any individual other than their members.

Unreasonable surges in food prices will be tackled.

According to a report, the Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC stated that some trade unions had formed cartels in order to engage in anti-competitive practices, which eventually led to an increase in the prices of essential food items. Irukera added that it is now more important than ever to take a firm stance against arbitrary increases in the cost of food in view of the fact that the president just last week declared a national emergency regarding the availability of food.

Regulation of large corporations is not the main purpose of consumer protection and competition regulation. Its purpose extends beyond controlling the formal industry. One of its goals is the control of the informal sector. He also said that in a country like Nigeria, where the majority of the economy operates outside of formal channels, the need to develop a method to control the informal sector is all the more pressing. Food prices, transportation, and other costs have all gone up since May 29, when President Bola Tinubu announced the withdrawal of fuel subsidies during his inauguration.

Headline inflation increased from 22.41% in May to 22.79% in June 2023.

On Monday, it was also revealed that Nigeria’s headline inflation continued to show progressive growth as it increased from the 22.41% that was recorded in May 2023 to 22.79% in June 2023, as it was reported. This information was made public by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its report for the month of June, which indicated that the headline inflation recorded a surge of 0.38% points in comparison to the figure that was reported in May.

NBS revealed that the total inflation rate in June 2023 was 4.19%, which was higher than the rate recorded in June 2022 of 18.60%, indicating that the rate (year-on-year basis) rose in June 2023 compared to a similar month in the previous year. The inflation rate on a month-on-month basis in June 2023 was 2.13%, according to the report, which was 0.19% higher than the rate reported in May 2023 (1.94%). This means that, on average, prices increased by 0.19% in June 2023 compared to May 2023.

CPI also recorded a significant surge on year and month basis.

It was also revealed that the annual percentage increase in the CPI from the twelve months concluding in June 2023 above the average for the preceding twelve months was 21.54%, a rise of 5.00% from the 16.54% reported in June 2022. The annual rate of urban inflation in June 2023 was 24.33 percent, which is 5.23 percent points more than the 19.09% observed in June 2022; the monthly rate of urban inflation in June 2023 was 2.31 percent, representing 0.21 percent points higher than May 2023 with 2.09 percent.

Related Link

FCCPC: Website

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