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Consumer protection commission warns market association against operating as cartels

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has expressed displeasure against market associations who operate as a cartels and affect exorbitant prices on products particularly food items.

Hence the commission is set to start monitoring closely the activities of market associations to ensure that the rights of consumers are continually protected.

Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice chairman, FCCPC made this known during a stakeholders meeting organized by the commission in partnership with Consumer International- an international NGO themed Fair Food Prices in Nigeria, Multi-stakeholder Workshop held in Lagos.

He acknowledged that although trade associations are vital to businesses, there are limitations as to what they should engage in, adding that many of them have constituted themselves into cartels which are illegal.

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“Trade associations are important in bringing members of the associations together, training professionals together, discussing standards and what is good for their businesses, but certainly not to discuss pricing, certainly not to discuss or restrict supply and demand; You can determine new prices individually and provide your services at a price that you consider fair and profitable to your business. But you cannot coordinate, you cannot conspire and you cannot build consensus around a price,” he said.

It can be recalled that President Bola Tinubu declared a state of emergency to tackle rising food prices and shortages as both headline and food inflation continue to accelerate forcing the a surge in the price of commodities.

He explained that the Commission does not only regulate big firms or the formal sector but also the informal sector and hence will monitor closely their activities.

“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,” he said.