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  “Cartels” in Market are setting artificial prices for goods — FCCPC 

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has indicated that certain “cartels” in the market are artificially raising the price of goods and services in the country, adding that some of the surges in prices do not reflect the reality of demand and supply.  

The Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Adamu Abdullahi, made this disclosure in an interview with Channels TV on Saturday while discussing consumer protection regulations in the country.  

According to Abdullahi, these “small cartels,”— as he described them—within the market system arbitrarily determine certain prices for certain goods and services without regard for differences in the cost of production in various places.  

He listed associations formed by various artisans in the country like barbers or fish sellers as part of those raising prices, emphasizing that those groups do not set fair prices that favour the consumers.  

He said,  

  • “We have formed our committee at the level that we work with. We work with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. We also brought in the Ministry of Agriculture, NNPCL and others.  
  • “We look at what is happening in the market and try to see how we can make amends. 
  • “The issue is most of the people that operate in the market have formed themselves into cartels. That’s against the law.   
  • “These associations that say, for example, National Association of Nigeria Barbers have set a price for a haircut. Whenever you have a haircut, this is how much you’re going to pay.  
  • “These groups are not supposed to discuss pricing. Pricing is something that should be determined by the market. From place to place, the cost of production may be different. So, the cost price in the market cannot be the same.” 

Overbilling of unmetered customers  

Furthermore, Abdullahi also commented on the recent fine imposed by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) on the electricity distribution companies (Discos) for overbilling unmetered customers in the country.  

In his remarks, the acting vice chairman noted that his commission is supporting NERC to ensure a fair billing price for energy consumers through different regulatory frameworks.  

He mentioned that the FCCPC collaborated with NERC to penalize the Discos for their violations related to estimated billing practices. 

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  • “Right now, I have a team in Bauchi who are working with the electricity discos and attending to complaints from consumers and that’s what we have been doing throughout the year.  
  • “We are going from one Disco to the other. And what we do is go stay in that place for a whole five days and do complain desks.  
  • “Whatever complaint you have, we resolve it immediately. We work with the NERC, especially on the capping of estimated billing.  
  • “We have a metric on which we based the capping. Whenever we find a violation of the capping by the Discos, we work with NERC to make sure that the right thing is done,” he added. 

What you should know 

Recently, Nairametrics reported that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) sealed off the head office of a popular supermarket in the Garki area of Abuja, Sahad supermarket/stores, over customers extortion and lack of transparency in prices. 

  • Meanwhile, the commission reopened the supermarket 24 hours after the sealing.  
  • In a statement, Adamu Ahmed Abdullahi, the acting executive vice chairman of the FCCPC, announced that Sahad Stores had committed to implementing transparent pricing practices, following a mutual understanding and commitment.  
  • The commission stated that the investigation covered all Sahad Stores branches in Abuja, aiming to gain a thorough understanding of the issues and enforce corrective measures throughout the entire chain
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