The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has held a meeting with the members of the Association of Supermarket Operators in Abuja.
The Commission said it was worried that there had been cases of abuse of dominant position, price fixing, monopoly, non- display of product prices and conspiracy, and the influx of fake and substandard consumables products at supermarkets especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission which is engaging supermarket operators in the six geo-political zones of the country, said it would not relent in its efforts to ensure effective consumer protection.
Executive vice chairman of the Commission, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, at a meeting with members of the Association of Supermarket Operators in Abuja said the Commission wants to collaborate with them to ensure that the interest of the consumer is protected, in addition to reducing anti-competitive practices.
Irukera was represented by the executive commissioner, Corporate Services of the Commission, Dr Adamu Abdullahi.
While giving details of the enforcement experiences of the Commission, the head, COVID-19 team, Mr. Kelechi Oko, said the Commission noticed a shortfall in production occasioned by laying off of factory workers.
He explained that as a result, many individuals started producing fake and substandard products due to the inability of some manufacturers to meet up with 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.
But 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 warned that the FCCPC would not condone any practice that hurts consumers and infringe on the law.
Also the Head, Surveillance and Enforcement Department of the Commission Mrs. Julia Nwachukwu, told the 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 going forward and to empasise the need for them to strengthen their relation with the government and the public.