Daily Independent, Nigeria, January 11, 2010

Abuja — The Consumer Empowerment Organisation of Nigeria (CEON) and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Tuesday tasked the nation’s lawmakers to put in place effective competition policy to regulate the Nigerian consumers’ market.

The coordinator and founder of CEON, a non-governmental organisation, Adedeji Abiodun, urged the Nigeria’s lawmaker at the second round of the national reference group meeting on the roadmap for domestic competition reforms in Nigerian, held at the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) Headquarters in Abuja.

According to Abiodun, the continued absence and imbalance competition policy in the demand and supply chains in the nation’s consumer market can be attributed to lack of political will stemming from lack of understanding of the benefits from an effective competition regime among those at the political affairs in the country.

He also identified low level of awareness among government and business segments about competition law, and strong lobbies, vested interest and corruption as impending factors and frequent reporting of anti-competitive practices in the media factors that have brought about the unharmonious competition in the Nigeria’s market place.

While regretting the perceived lack of consensus between the different government departments and turf issues, he said: “In spite of the three sets of bills on competition policy put before the National Assembly in the last three years, government is yet to adopt a practicable competition law.

The absence of a concise and effective competitive law, he said constituted why Nigerian’s farmers have continued to rely on the use of old stocks of crops and stocks since they can not afford the price of hybrid seedlings, which later will affect their productivity.

He said: “Lack of competition in seeds and fertilisers markets as a result of high cost of input is also as a result of lack of competition law in the country.”

Adding he said, “We want to have a road map for competition reforms in Nigeria so this is a project that we have started since last year and it involves research and the outcome of this research will be use at different levels to ensure that the country has competition law.

He also noted that at the moment Nigerian is one of the countries without competition law and we also acknowledge the need for relevant stakeholders to contribute to this course.

He said his organisation is working with the CPC, which is from the government with other stakeholders to find a way to win the conscience of government on the need to evolve a workable policy. “And that is why we have come together to strategise on how to go about the issue. This is the second meeting the first was last year and our aim is for us in Nigeria to have a functional competition law and that is the whole essence of this exercise,” he said.

A representative of MAN, Okpe Sunday Adejoh, adduced that the aftermath of the absence of the competition law is severe hardship on the consumers.

According to him, some years back consumers of gas were buying the products at the rate of about N6.00 per cubic liter but today some can no longer afford it as the price has been increased up to about N63 per cubic liter.

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