Hardship: Grain sellers, consumers want price controls

“FCCPC’s surveillance efforts suggest participants in the food chain and distribution sector including wholesalers and retailers are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, price gouging and hoarding."

Hardship: grain sellers, consumers want price controlsGrain sellers and consumers in Katsina State have called on the Federal Government to introduce price control, in order to control the current hike in the prices of food commodities in the country.

The call was made on Thursday during a market survey by some  journalists in collaboration with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

 

Alhaji Aliyu Maje, the Chairman of grain sellers, Katsina Zone said the call was important in order to reduce the cost of life caused by the hike of food commodities.

He further attributed the hike of the commodities, especially the grains, to the activity of hoarders in the state and also to buyers from the neighbouring countries.

“People come from Niger Republic and other neighbouring countries to buy grains. And whatever amount they were told, they will buy. This has also contributed to the hike in price.

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“Last week I went to one of the big markets, I bought a bag of maise at N58,000, plus transportation, I sold it at N62,000. “But this week I was not able to buy it at that same market because the price has increased by over N10,000,” he said.

Malam Kabiru Lawal, the Vice Chairman, grain sellers association at Chake market said it was not their wish to always increase the price, adding, “if the government can introduce price control, with a committee to monitor, the hardship will reduce.”

 

Some of the consumers interviewed at Katsina central market expressed concern over the high cost of living due to the increase in the prices of foodstuffs.

“This has caused untold hardship to my family immensely according to a consumer at the Katsina Central market,” Yahaya Mohammed decried..

 

The North-West Zonal Coordinator of FCCPC, Alhaji Abdulkarim Othman-Shehu, said its priority remained unlocking the markets, addressing key consumer protection and competition issues affecting the prices of commodities in the food sector.

“FCCPC’s surveillance efforts suggest participants in the food chain and distribution sector including wholesalers and retailers are allegedly engaged in conspiracy, price gouging and hoarding.

”They also engage in 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 recommendations to the government.

“We are also going to 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,” he assured.