FCCPC Investigates Food Hike Price In Bauchi Markets

By Khalid Idris Doya

North East Zonal office of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has engaged in fact-finding interactions with traders’ associations and marketers to ascertain factors responsible for the continuous hike in food prices. 

The commission told the press in Bauchi Thursday after fact-finding interaction to gather information directly from the sources and stakeholders in major markets, particularly executives, market unions, sellers and consumers.

The Commission’s acting executive chairman, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Dauda Waja Ahmad, said that the commission is poised to unlock the markets and address key consumer protection and competition issues affecting the prices of commodities in the food sector.

Abdullahi opined that the Commission’s surveillance efforts suggest participants in the food chain and distribution sector including wholesalers and retailers are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, price gouging, hoarding and other unfair tactics to restrict or distort competition in the market.

Abdullahi explained that the defaulters also restrict the supply of food, manipulate and inflate the price of food in an indiscriminate manner, stressing that “These obnoxious, unscrupulous, exploitative practices are illegal under the FCCPA.

“Following  this exercise, the commission would develop a concise report of its inquiry and make recommendation to the government in accordance with section 17(b) of the FCCPA and initiate broad based policies and review economic activities in Nigeria to identify and address anti-competitive, anti-consumer protection and restrictive practices to make markets more competitive while also ensuring fair pricing for consumers”.

The team of the commission’s zonal office being headed by the Zonal Coordinator, Dauda Waja Amadu in carrying out the exercise in Bauchi, went into the Muda Lawal Market with with questionnaires in addition to it’s apparatus in the investigation mission to determine the soaring prices of commodities in the market. 

Elements or apparatus in the questionnaires included, “Who are allowed to supply products into the market and why; How are suppliers received into the market; Any restriction or condition of supply or access to the market by the suppliers; among others. 

Bala Mai Kaji is the chairman of Muda Lawal Market Traders Association who noted that it is the responsibility of the commission to determine the basic needs of customers in the market, how they get them and why the hike in prices of products or commodities. 

Mai Kaji who is one of the market executives the commission personnel confronted in the course of their mission said, “Though the commission can take any necessary action on any market executive or trader based on the provisions of the law establishing it, it mostly take recommendations to the government that would introduce measures to curtail hike in prices of goods, commodities or products. 

The association chairman also expressed worrisome that what the farmers produce in terms of food and cash crops are in far deficit with the growing demands of the Nigerian consumers, indicating that the demand is much higher than the supply. 

Mai Kaji cried, “Authorities at the top echelon of the rule are against or even usually banned the importation of food into the country, when what farmers produce are being headed by multilateral companies that export them outside or keep them in warehouses to create artificial scarcity and turn-back to hike prices of such produce. 

He therefore suggested that rather than the multilateral companies purchasing the produce by the farmers, they should produce the commodities or farm products in the efforts for mass production towards food security for the country, and ever mass export. 

The commission team similarly visited the Women’s Market adjacent to the Bauchi zonal office of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

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