By Ginika Okoye
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has engaged supermarket operators in the six geo-political zones with a view to ensuring effective consumer protection.
The Commission also decried the influx of fake and substandard consumables products at supermarkets especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, said the Commission would collaborate with supermarket operators for an efficient consumer protection towards reducing anti-competitive practices.
Irukera was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services of the Commission, Dr Adamu Abdullahi, at a meeting with the Association of Supermarket Operators.
Analysing the enforcement experiences of the Commission in Abuja on Thursday, Mr Kelechi Oko, the Head of the COVID-19 team, said there were shortfall in production occasioned by laying off of factory workers.
Oko disclosed that many individuals started producing fake products due to the inability of some manufacturers to meet up with their customers’ demands.
”The Commission had COVID-19 team who went out to observe how consumers and operators were responding to COVID issues.
”We visited a couple of supermarkets and we also watched how you were going about your businesses.
”One of the experiences we had was that sanitisers that were been used or sold, some of them were fake without the required ethanol.
”There were influx of fake and substandard items all over the place. Not just sanitisers, we saw some in powdered milk, cement,” he explained.
The Acting Director, Legal Services in the Commission, Mr Tam Tamunokonbia, said the Commission had been empowered by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) to go against any supermarket involved in anti-competitive practices.
He listed some of the practices to include abuse of dominant position, price fixing, monopoly, non display of product prices and conspiracy, among others.
Mrs Julia Nwachukwu, the Head, Surveillance and Enforcement Department of the Commission, urged supermarket operators to be responsible and responsive in their customer services.
Earlier, Mrs Joy Lekwuwa, the Head, Consumer Education, said the engagement was for the Commission to rub minds with supermarket operators to do the right things to be in good relationship with the government and public.
Some operators who spoke at the meeting appealed to the FCCPC to also engage manufacturers and suppliers of products to strick a balance, especially in pricing. (NAN)