COVID-19: FCCPC Warns Against Increase In Prices Of Hygiene Products

Channels Television  
Updated February 29, 2020
A visitor tries to sanitise hands before being allowed into a state hospital at Yaba in Lagos, on February 28, 2020. Residents of Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos scrambled for hygiene products after the chaotic megacity of 20 million announced the first confirmed case of new coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa. Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement overnight that the infected person was an Italian citizen who flew in from Milan, at the heart of Europe’s largest outbreak, earlier this week. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP



The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has warned suppliers and retailers not to take undue advantage of citizens by hiking the prices of basic safety and protective apparel such as face masks, latex gloves, sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes, in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

According to the commission, such products are necessary in preventing infections or the further spread of the virus and the indiscriminate rise in the prices violates both moral codes and extant laws which prohibit obnoxious trade practices.

“The Commission’s surveillance efforts have revealed that some otherwise reputable pharmacies and department stores are engaging in price gouging and manipulating supplies in a manner that distorts the market, or temporarily restricts availability in order to unreasonably/unfairly increase prices,” a statement from the FCCPC said.

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“Any conspiracy, combination, agreement or arrangement to unduly limit or manipulate supply, in order to unreasonably enhance price or otherwise restrain competition is a criminal offence under S.108(1)(b) and (c), FCCPA.

“Any exercise or exploitation of undue pressure in selling or the sale of goods or services, or price manipulation between displayed, and selling price are also serious violations of the FCCPA under Sections 115(3) and 124(1).

“Taking advantage of the possibility of infection by a dangerous communicable disease to control supply, or unilaterally increase prices is predatory as it preys on the desperation of citizens,” it added.

The commission, therefore, encouraged consumers to be vigilant, and report such arbitrary price increase or trade practices to the Commission.