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FCCPC: Saving Nigerians From Their Nigerianness

FCCPC: Saving Nigerians From Their Nigerianness

FCCPC: Saving Nigerians From Their Nigerianness

By Tahir I Tahir Talban Bauchi

Our Nigerianness is that oddity in our behaviour that sets us apart, preventing us from upholding proper and common societal values. It is an idiosyncrasy we carry that gives us a peculiarity, that easily distinguishes us from other nationalities.

Some of it can be from a rare positive energy we possess that keeps us vibrant, carrying a ‘happy go lucky’ persona inspite of the severity of the predicament we find ourselves in. A lot of it comes from a negative energy that is embodied in our penchance for unruly behavior, disobeying law and order, carrying on with impunity as we conduct ourselves in our daily endeavors.

We are somehow wired or equipped to want to game the system or short-change it, or to manipulate the next person and deprive them of what we are rightfully supposed to avail them with. We regularly find ourselves in desperation to go against the norm or laid down procedure.

Nigerians have not had any respite from their Nigerianness in the face of the very bizarre fall in the value of the naira, exchanging for about 1900 naira to a dollar as the exchange rate peaked at the end of 2023, and early 2024. Aside the floatation of the naira, most of that spike in the exchange rate was caused my speculators and manipulators, taking control of various online currency exchange platforms to create a huge artificial demand for the dollar, while running the naira aground.

Expectedly, inflation soared and the prices of goods and services became highly exorbitant and unaffordable. When the dollar rises, goods in stores rise automatically with it. The explainer is that the marketer cannot restock if he sells at the same price before the rise. When the dollar drops, the old stock is still in store and the price doesn’t shift, as it was purchased by a costlier dollar before the fall. Old stock remains on the shelf, to the convenience of the marketers/ retailers, and there is just no reprieve for the buyer.

This has necessitated The FCCPC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, to make several interventions across the country, in the wake of the psuedo-inflation that has affected the prices of goods and services. Aside the exorbitant prices of goods, retailers had also resorted to manipulating weight scales, and tampering with the actual measure of the quantities of the goods they sell to customers at certain prices. On Wednesday the 24th of March, 2024, in a targeted enforcement operation at Garki Modern Market in Abuja, it was discovered that the weight scales were deceptive and the quantities in a 25kg or 50kg of rice were much less than stated on the bags.

In another enforcement operation at 4U Supermarket in Abuja, it was discovered that there were discrepancies between displayed prices and checkout prices in the outlet. Some of their food items were also infested by pests, which they were still selling to the public. About 97 bags of Rice made by Stallion and Caprice, which had not been produced in the country since 2018 were discovered and evacuated by the commission.

Another enforcement drive by the commission at the Woji area in Port-Harcourt revealed that the supermarkets were selling under-weight and rebagged rice.

The Ag. Executive Vice Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of the FCCPC, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi has explained that such raids will be conducted in both formal and informal markets across the country, to eliminate unfair trade practices such as collusion, price gouging, price fixing and the running of cartels.

The commission cannot directly regulate prices, but he reassured consumers that the commission will use its existing legal framework to enforce fair competition and provide consumer protection.

He also stated that they will be collaborating with trade associations, farmer groups and others, to remove and eradicate unnecessary barriers to entry in various sectors to combat price fixing and dismantle cartels. Unusual price hikes will be investigated and dealt with appropriately.

The commission also urges consumers to report suspected price gouging and other sharp trade practices.

The issue of price gouging has been of grave concern to the general public with traders blaming everything on the rise of the dollar.

When one dollar rose to 1800 naira, a crate of eggs was sold at 2700 naira. The dollar dropped to about 1100 naira and the price of the same crate continued to rise to about 3800 naira. Sugar too was at a cost of 70,000 naira and less, and the drop in the dollar did not stop the price from peaking to almost 80,000 or more.

The prices may vary from one place to the other and may not be exact, but are a fair reflection of how the drop in the dollar rate has not resulted in a commensurate drop in the prices of goods. There was a raid by the Kano Anti-corruption and Public Complaints Commission on certain stores that hoarded thousands of tonnes of bagged rice, causing a sharp rice in the cost of locally produced rice.

That raid was instrumental in the drop in the price of a bag of rice in the markets. Millers were taking rice from farmers on the cheap, (probably subsidised rice), bagging them, and exporting to neighbouring countries to make a kill, as the naira devalued against the CFA. The market has been wild with price increases that are not backed by market forces.

Just recently, DSTV hiked their prices and their customers have continued to groan over these practices that have gone on for years without any checks. The FCCPC has already announced that it will be reviewing these hikes by the DSTV to ensure that subscribers get a fair value.

Without these interventions, Nigerians will be consumed by their Nigerianness, making life unbearable with a price gouging trend that doesn’t seem to have an end.

FCCPC: Saving Nigerians From Their Nigerianness

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