Tinubu Government Threatens To Sanction Trade Associations Over Rising Food Prices | #NwokeukwuMascot

 NEWS 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The Nigerian Government has threatened to sanction members of trade associations across the country over what it described as indiscriminate and irrational hikes in food prices and anti-competitive practices.

Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera, made this known on Tuesday during a forum organised by the commission to discuss fair food prices.

Speaking at the forum captioned ‘Fair Food Prices in Nigeria: A high-level forum for better competition’, Irukera said, “We will continue to monitor the market, and where we find that prices are excessive or find exploitative conduct, or find that consumers are being taken advantage of, we will intervene. One of the ways of intervening is unlocking the bottlenecks.

“That is what I just said, associations that come together to determine at what price beans should be sold, associations that come together to decide that nobody in a particular market should take yam, beans or rice from any other person except their members, we will proceed against them.”

According to The PUNCH, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer said that some trade unions had constituted cartels to engage in anti-competitive practices that have led to price gouging of basic food items.

According to Irukera, taking a hard line against indiscriminate food price hikes had become imperative in light of the president’s declaration of food security as a national emergency last week.

“Competition regulation and consumer protection is not only to regulate the big companies. It is not only to regulate the formal sector. It is also to regulate the informal sector. In a place like Nigeria, it is even more critical to find a strategy to regulate the informal sector because at the end of the day the vast majority of our economy is informal,” he added.

Since the removal of fuel subsidy was announced by President Bola Tinubu during his inauguration on May 29, pushing the prices of petrol from around N200 to over N600 per litre, food items, transport fares and others have continued to rise. 

It was earlier reported on Monday that Nigeria’s headline inflation had maintained a progressive increase as it rose to 22.79% in June 2023 from the 22.41% recorded in May 2023. 

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which made this known in its June report stated that the headline inflation showed an increase of 0.38% points when compared to the figure recorded in May.

On a year-on-year basis, NBS reported that the headline inflation rate was 4.19% points higher compared to the rate recorded in June 2022, which was 18.60%, showing that the headline inflation rate (year-on-year basis) increased in June 2023 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (i.e., June 2022).

On a month-on-month basis, the report showed that the headline inflation rate in June 2023 was 2.13%, 0.19% points higher than the rate recorded in May 2023 (1.94%); meaning that in June 2023, on average, the general price level was 0.19% higher relative to May 2023.

It further stated that the percentage change in the average CPI for the twelve months period ending June 2023 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 21.54%, showing a 5.00% increase compared to 16.54% recorded in June 2022.

On a year-on-year basis, the urban inflation rate in June 2023 was 24.33%, 5.23% points higher compared to the 19.09% recorded in June 2022, while on a month-on-month basis, the urban inflation rate was 2.31% in June 2023, which was 0.21% points higher compared to May 2023 (2.09%).

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