Dr. Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has stated that the agency has no power to regulate consumer prices because it is not a price regulator and that Nigeria operates a free market economy.
Irukera stated this in a recent interview with journalists in Abuja. According to the FCCPC boss, the law establishing the commission has a limited provision on price regulation which, if even it allows the government to get involved in prices, requires the commission to conduct research and make a recommendation to the President for a limited time of controlling price in a specific sector.
“When the President accepts the recommendation and adopts it, it will be gazetted. It will only be for a limited period of time. Other than that, we don’t regulate price,” he said.
While stating that the FCCPC Act has provisions that prohibit exploitative or unjust contract terms, including prices, they do not give the Commission authority to say prices are too steep. “Does that give us the authority to just say this thing is too high; this price is going too high? No, it doesn’t. What is not reasonable is not a subjective thing. It’s based on objective standards. What is unjust and manifestly so is based on objective standards not arbitrary.
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