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FCCPC probes rise in food prices in local markets

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is probing the consistent rise in food prices across major markets in the country.

The FCCPC team carried out a fact-finding mission in two major Lagos markets to ascertain key reasons while prices of foods and other commodities continue to go up.

The FCCPC executives and the media toured the Mile 12 International Perishable Market and Epo Ararumi Oke Odo markets in Lagos. During the exercise, the media and FCCPC executives spoke with market leaders and traders on the development.

They market leaders and traders disclosed key factors contributing to the continuous rise in food prices.

Chairman, Mile 12 international Perishable Market, Alhaji Shehu Jibril, said insecurity is a major contributor to rising food prices. He disclosed that many farmers are still in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, making it difficult for them to return to their farms.

He said: “The Federal Government should try and take IDP back  to  their homes, otherwise prices of food stuff will continue to be expensive. There is no need to blame marketers for the rise in food prices. People who are supposed to be in farm are not, as long as they are not in farm, hunger will persist “

Chairman, Alhaji Taofik Olorunkemi, Epo Ararumi Oke Odo, said he acknowledged the rising prices of food and other commodities. He said: “We do not know the reasons, but we can confirm that what we bought at N100,000, sometimes move to N200,000 the next day.

He said that marketers and all consumers are concerned, and hope that prices of food commodities will come down soon.

Michael Otu, a bean seller in Mile 12 market, said a paint of bean that previously cost N4,500, now costs N8,500. He said: “There are many explanations, including insecurity and inflation. We sell based on how much we bought. The prices will come down, when we buy the commodities at lower prices,” he said.

Also speaking, Mrs. Abiodun Akinloye, who sells processed tomatoes at the Epo Ararumi Oke Odo market, said the manufacturers keep raising the prices, claiming that cost of production has escalated and are passed to consumers.

Addressing media during the market tour, Head FCCPC Lagos, Susie Onwuka, said the fact-finding inquiry is an investigative mission to gather information directly from the sources and stakeholders in major markets, particularly executives, market unions, sellers and consumers.

“We are will come up with reports that will help government to address the challenge of rising food prices. We are speaking to people bringing in the goods and the marketers. We found out that insecurity, petrol subsidy removal and rising transportation costs are major reasons, while prices of food are rising,” she said.

She said the commission’s priority remains to unlock the markets and address key consumer protection and competition issues affecting the prices of commodities in the food sector.

In a report, the FCCPC said its surveillance efforts suggest participants in the food chain and distribution sector including wholesalers and retailers are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, price gauging, hoarding and other unfair tactics to restrict or distort competition in the market, restrict the supply of food, manipulate and inflate the price of food in an indiscriminate manner. 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,” it said.

 

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