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In a bid to uphold economic stability, safeguard consumers against price exploitation, and ensure the accessibility of essential products and services at reasonable rates in Nigeria, Senator Aniekan Bassey, representing the Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District, has urged for amendments to the 2004 Price Control Act.

According to Senator Bassey, the sponsor of the bill that successfully passed its first reading during the Senate plenary on Tuesday, the proposed amendments aim to “reassess the structure of the National Price Control Board (NPCB), broaden its scope of responsibilities, and institute more stringent penalties for the hoarding of goods and services to align with the current economic landscape in Nigeria.”

He has named this amended bill the ‘Price Control Act (Amendment) Bill 2023.’

The forthcoming amendments to this bill, upon approval, will reinforce the existing statutes in “regulating the prices of products and services, particularly essential commodities and other items such as construction materials, household goods, and transportation costs, which continue to surge daily and contribute to rising inflation. Presently, the removal of petroleum subsidies has triggered an uncontrolled exponential increase in the prices of goods and services, causing significant hardship for Nigerians. Regrettably, the government’s relevant agencies have been unable to measure the extent of the price hikes.”

Moreover, it will enhance the principal statutes in “alleviating hardships, curbing inflation, and managing economic crises through moderate pricing regulations within specific sectors and under defined circumstances. These regulations will encompass every aspect of the production value chain, including sourcing, manufacturing, intermediaries, retailers, and consumers. They will also empower the Board to intervene in matters that could incite strikes or civil unrest, potentially affecting the general populace, the government, and the producers/Nigerian Labor Congress.”

The proposed amendments will also fortify the principal act by “enabling the Board to provide recommendations to the government on matters that could lead to inflation, austerity, or economic crises due to price hikes in goods and services. This will involve bolstering monitoring, supervision, and price control for products and services, while establishing and enforcing stricter penalties to deter arbitrary price hikes and serve as a warning to others.”

Regarding the future determination of product and service prices, once the bill is amended and ratified, it will promote effective collaboration among “states and communities to ensure the availability of information, facilitating the regulation, enforcement, and organizing of meetings among producers, manufacturers, retailers, government agencies, and the public to foster relationships and understanding in setting prices for goods and services.”

Media Unit

Office of the Senator

Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial District

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