The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has received an award from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for outstanding performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commission’s chief executive officer, Babatunde Irukera, received the award certificate, tagged Extra Mile Award, signed by the Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, CON at its head office in Abuja.
The certificate stated that the “Extra Mile Award is presented to Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) for outstanding performance as a member of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment Committee on Sustainable Production/Delivery of Essential Commodities during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In a similar vein, the Permanent Secretary, FMITI, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, in a letter to FCCPC, signed on behalf of the Honourable Minister, emphasised that FCCPC’s “exemplary dedication, commitment and loyalty in the service of our fatherland will remain indelible.”
Recall that in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria, the Commission announced on February 28, 2020, that it had become aware that “certain suppliers and retailers are taking undue advantage of citizens and engaging in unconscionable trade practices with respect to basic safety and protective apparel such as face masks and latex gloves, as well as personal hygiene products like sanitisers and anti-bacterial wipes, because the products are relevant and necessary in preventing infection or spread of COVID-19.”
The Commission cautioned that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) empowered it to address such abuses, and advised businesses to operate within the law or risk consequences, which may include criminal prosecution.
In March 2020, Jumia Nigeria delisted 390 products belonging to 168 sellers of hand sanitisers and face masks from its online platform on account of FCCPC’s warning that sellers who engaged in price gouging and arbitrary increases in prices of protective and hygiene products would be prosecuted.
In June 2020, FCCPC arraigned four major pharmacies and supermarkets at the Federal High Court, Abuja for allegedly taking advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country to increase the prices of key hygiene products, contrary to law.
Babatunde Irukera, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission is personally leading the prosecution of the affected companies, H-Medix Pharmacy and Stores, Faxx Stores, Ebeano Supermarket and Bakan-Gizo Pharmacy.
In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, FCCPC sealed Med Contour cosmetic surgery clinic in Lagos, following an open investigation, on reasonable suspicion of illegal activities, and in an abundance of caution and consumer safety, pending further inquiry. This culminated in the arraignment of Dr. Anu Adepoju, doctor in charge, and Med Contour Clinic at the Federal High Court, Lagos, in July 2020, under criminal charges of failure to appear and provide information relevant to FCCPC’s investigation.
Further to its surveillance and work to prevent unjust, unreasonable, exploitative or unscrupulous conduct by businesses during the period, FCCPC set up a COVID-19 response team and created a dedicated platform through which it received information and complaints or intelligence.
The Commission busted a number of companies in the course of its surveillance and enforcement operations, including FarEast Mercantile Company and Apples and Pears Ltd, in whose warehouses it uncovered large quantities of expired products.
As part of its continuing oversight and in response to multiple social media posts about what appeared to be excessive and imprudent pricing of potentially vital medication, Hydroxychloroquine, that is perceived or presented as efficacious therapy in addressing COVID-19, FCCPC conducted simultaneous on-site investigations on Ebus and Avis Pharmacy, both in Port-Harcourt, multiple locations of Health Plus Limited in Lagos and Abuja, Tonia Pharmacy, H-Medix, and New Health pharmacies, all in Abuja on August 4, 2020.
In some of the targets of the investigation, which is ongoing, FCCPC discovered what appeared to be inconsistent pricing of Hydroxychloroquine and other products that are considered relevant to managing COVID-19, with most being sold at margins between 66% and 89%.
In the period under review, the Commission also prioritised key competition and consumer protection issues related to and arising from the pandemic, particularly prevalent complaints, which included failed electronic banking transactions and associated delays in restoration, reconciliation or resolution, slow speed internet connectivity, as well as arbitrary and inexplicable charges for data and restricted access or delayed signal release after payment for payTV services.
From February 2020 to date, the Commission has received thousands of consumer complaints in the aforementioned areas, which it continues to resolve.
The Commission’s mandate to promote competition was not ignored in its COVID-19 response, as it created room for merger review, advisories or investigations.
For merger review, FCCPC undertook to accept remote filing and electronic notifications where there is a possibility or imminent failure of the business of a merging party.
Other grounds propounded by the Commission for merger review during the period include where there is a host jurisdiction other than Nigeria, or situations where there are time limitations, but requiring notification and determination by the FCCPC prior to conclusion of the underlying transaction, and other sensitive situations.
FG to deploy 100 electric buses
President Bola Tinubu has said Nigeria is taking a significant step towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future by introducing a pioneering initiative to deploy a fleet of 100 electric buses.
The President spoke at a high-level meeting with stakeholders and investors on the Nigeria Carbon Market and Electric Buses Rollout Programme on Saturday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on the margins of the COP28 climate summit.
President Tinubu explained that the strategic initiative is aimed at significantly reducing Nigeria’s carbon footprint and modernizing the country’s transportation systems as part of a larger effort to position Nigeria and Africa as the pioneering frontier of green manufacturing and industrialization with a focus on natural gas as a transition fuel alongside other renewable energy sources.
To spearhead this transformative plan, the President announced the appointment of the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Zacch Adedeji, and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), Mr. Dahiru Salisu, to co-chair the Nigeria Carbon Market Activation Plan.
”This initiative stands as a testament to our dedication to environmental stewardship as clearly exemplified through our collaboration with the Africa Carbon Market Initiative. Our visionary plan is a strategic guidepost, directing Nigeria towards becoming an investment-friendly destination for carbon market investments.
”We recognize the imperative of fostering an environment that not only attracts investment but also upholds standardized and sustainable industrial practices. As a manifestation of our forward-thinking approach, we are actively looking to implement robust, enabling policies and frameworks that will serve as the catalyst for the burgeoning growth of the carbon market within our national borders.
”In further driving my commitment, I have recently approved an Inter-governmental Committee on Carbon Markets to be chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change to drive this visionary plan,” the President stated.
The President assured prospective investors that this initiative transcends being a mere pilot project.
”It is a concrete manifestation of our unwavering dedication to a carbon-neutral future. I assure you; this is only the commencement of our ambitious plans, with many more impactful initiatives on the horizon,” he said.
President Tinubu, while acknowledging the pressing need for a comprehensive global collaboration on climate-related challenges, called on global partners to join hands in accelerating collective efforts towards a net-zero future.
”As we unveil our initiatives, I challenge other nations to emulate our strides in mapping out their sustainable futures with a clear understanding that Africa is a beacon of innovative solutions to climate-related challenges.
”In this pursuit, we acknowledge the pressing need for comprehensive global collaboration, and we reiterate our commitment to being an active participant in international efforts.
”Nigeria’s plans for a greener and cleaner economy can serve as an inspirational narrative for nations worldwide. Our comprehensive approach, rooted in visionary leadership and pragmatic action supported by our technical partners, is poised to become a blueprint for countries aspiring to also develop and catalyze their markets for sustainable growth,” the President concluded.
In his remarks, FIRS Chairman, Mr. Zacch Adedeji acknowledged the visionary leadership of President Tinubu as the guiding force behind Nigeria’s commitment to harnessing its vast carbon potential.
At COP28, Sanwo-Olu seeks funding to address supply of clean water in Lagos
Governor of Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu has sought global support for funding in Lagos state to be able to provide clean water.
The Governor speaking at a side meeting with the theme: “Valuing Water: A Lifeline in Climate Transition”, organised by Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum and Sustainable Market Initiative at the ongoing 28th session of Conference of Parties (COP28) at Dubai Exhibition Centre pitched a sustainable funding proposal in order to raise private and philanthropic funding in addressing inadequate water infrastructure and supply shortages in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that Lagos, with 22 million population, has a daily demand of 700 million gallons of portable water, but said the State could hardly supply 210 million gallons per day due to shortage of infrastructure.
The Governor said, although provision of clean water had been generally considered a social service, it was an essential element of economic necessity, given its importance to keeping humans healthy.
Lagos, he said, is challenged by increasing demand for clean water. Sanwo-Olu said the inadequacy of supply infrastructure could raise disease vulnerability in underserved communities, pointing out that the State, despite being surrounded by abundant water bodies, could only manage to utilise 40 per cent of its installed water facilities.
He said: “Lagos has an investment of about $2.8 billion in water infrastructure, but there is a burden on the huge population, as we need to create an ecosystem where we can have access to basic needs in the 21st century. Given our meagre resources, it is really a challenge but we certainly cannot continue to give excuses. This gap is being felt by underserved communities and the risk to the public is high.”
“We have continued to allocate resources to this sector from our budget, but the intervention is hardly enough to serve the needs of the residents. Four years ago, I gave a commitment of $100 million, but this is like a drop, given the number of investments required to fully explore the potential in the sector. We have huge infrastructure that is not being utilised, making us to operate at less than 40 per cent of the installed capacity.”
“Out of the $1.7 trillion needed globally to address the gap in clean water adequacy, Lagos requires less one per cent of the funds to provide safe water. It is my belief that this conversation would lead to sustainable solution that would meet the needs of millions of people that want water adequacy. Our goal is making committed partners believe in economic viability of their investments.”
Sanwo-Olu listed the country’s energy crisis as another factor slowing down the provision of clean water, stressing that irregular power supply rendered resources allocated to the sector inefficient.
The Governor called for equity in global investment towards accelerating water adequacy, noting that humans, regardless of their gender and geographical location, need equal access to clean water.
With 65 per cent of its population made up of young people of under 30, Sanwo-Olu told the funders that Lagos remained an African asset on which viable investments could be made.
The side meeting, which was moderated by the Secretary General of Insurance Development Forum, Ms. Ekhosuehi Iyahen, had seven other panelists, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WaterAid, Tim Wainright, Chief Sustainability Officer of PepsiCo, and CEO of Dalmia Cement in India, Mahendra Singh.
Others are Chief Operating Officer of Water.org, Vedika Bhandarkar, Managing Partner of AquaForAll, Josien Sluijs, Assistant Director General of Food and Agriculture Organisation at UN, Maximo Torero, and former CEO of Mars, Incorporated, Grant Reid.
COP28: Gov Eno joins President Tinubu in Dubai
Akwa Ibom State Governor, His Excellency Pastor Umo Eno, is part of the delegation led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR at the ongoing COP28 climate conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Delegates from nearly 200 countries, leaders in business and finance, and representatives of civil society are gathering in Dubai from November 30 to December 12 for the COP28 climate conference, aiming to fast-track the transition to a clean-energy future.
COP28 stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), occurring annually.
Also in the President’s entourage are the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Group CEO of NNPCL, Mele Kyari and the newly appointed Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo, among others.
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