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Irukera: FCCPC to Strengthen Regulations This Year in Collaboration with SON, NAFDAC

He said the power sector, fast moving consumer goods and the activities of digital lenders will come under more scrutiny

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Players in the power sector,  manufacturing sector and digital space may experience stricter regulations in the interest of consumers in 2023, the Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the

Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), Babatunde Irukera, has said. 

Speaking on Arise Exchange, a special business report section of the Arise News, on Monday, Irukera dropped the hint that FCCPC had, towards the end of 2022, embarked on further investigation and scrutiny of the power sector, fast moving consumer goods and the activities of digital lenders and unravelled major irregularities that have laid foundation for the areas the organisation would focus in 2023.

 According to him, to this end, the agency has started unbundling more of its regulatory tools to  create room for penalties in the months ahead. 

“Towards the end of last year, FCCPC opened investigation into the activities of some of the biggest importers of power generators in the country and we made headway in sanitizing the area. In particular, the commission has so far tackled cases of wholesome practices across consumer goods, digital economy and some other sectors,” he said.  

Looking at the agency’s activities last year and also moving forward on what the plans are to strengthen its operations  this New Year, the vice chairman said over the period of several months, the commission was gathering intelligence and the intelligence led FCCPC to the conclusion that there  were some irregularities in the activities of the alternative power generating companies and players in the fast moving consumer goods sector.

“Through investigation and intelligence gathering, FCCPC concluded  that there were some anticompetitive  practices in some  sensitive industries such as power; especially alternative power generating sector. 

“We found out that there’s a level of coordination among big players who play in the 20 to about 200 KVA generators with shady deals.

 “There were questions about how they were procuring the equipment and what they were importing. There were issues about duty free weaver or using it to also Import spare parts which are prohibited and whether they were procuring for themselves, essentially engaging illegal transfer pricing.”

The CEO disclosed that the court granted the commission a warrant of search and seize and it executed the warrant  simultaneously. 

He further added that FCCPC has since begun to analyze the evidence, pointing out that some of the allegations have already been confirmed. 

“Quite a number of investigations were carried out, especially in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). One of the first things we did was that early in the year, we started engaging the manufacturers about what we consider misleading. For instance, we discovered that they are reducing volume and content without reducing packaging. Of course, we also carried out major investigation in the tobacco industry for penalties.  

Irukera also disclosed that the last quarter of the year also saw the commission beaming its searchlight into the activities of the digital lenders, adding that even though the exercise is still ongoing, a framework has been put in place. 

“On the operators of the various digital lending platforms, our stand is that there must be a process and a credible model of operation to enhance sanity,”

As the commission moves into 2023 with plan to enforce more penalties, Irukera said there would be more collaboration, especially with Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to deepen its regulatory authority.

Raheem Akingbolu

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