President Buhari Should Reimpose Price Control Act, by Doji Doji
The sellers of goods and services in Nigeria hold the decision making key of our lives, they decide the direction of almost all our activities because food items measure the capacity of responsibility of householders. This mountainous mental burden weighs on the shoulders of men who are the breadwinners of their families. The way everything is skyrocketing daily in our markets give more concern to average Nigerians, that is why the debate on when and how this trend should be curbed gave room for public perceptions to continue sprawling out across the country.
When looking into this problem from an economic and political perspectives, you will agree with me that price controls will play crucial role in dealing with those merciless sellers who take advantage of the current happenings in the country to shoot up prices thereby making life difficult. If certain commodities are controlled then the poor will heave a sigh of relief.
Price control is defined in economic term as the restrictions imposed by governments to ensure that goods and services remain affordable. The main essence of price control is to curb inflation so that goods and services are affordable by the poor and within the reach of consumers.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says that “the consumer price index, (CPI) which measures inflation (rate of change in the increase in prices) increased by 17.75 per cent (year-on-year) in June 2021. This is higher than 16.09 percent reported in May 2021 which implies that the price will continue to rise. NBS also reported that the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other Tubers, Milk, Cheese and Eggs, Fish, Soft drinks, Vegetables, Oils and fats and Meat.
The highest increases were recorded in prices of Garments, Passenger travel by air and by road, Motor cars and Vehicle spare parts, Shoes and other footwear, Pharmaceutical products, Medical services, Hairdressing salons, and personal grooming establishments, Cleaning, repair and hire of clothing, Clothing materials, other articles of clothing and clothing accessories, Furniture and furnishing and Fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment.”
Today, an average Nigerian in all walks of life cannot go to market and buy a commodity with a stable price in mind, this has among other things constituted a chunk of bitterness and frustrations in the mind of poor Nigerians. Nigerians are left at the mercy of shylocks and business conveniences of the few who hold the keys of extortion and price inflationary.
Not long ago, the chairman of Dangote Group Alhaji Aliko Dangote falsifies the rumor of increment in the price of cement, but the sellers have always use the current situation of the country to sell products and services at the prices that will favour them. But the pressing issue is the rapid increase of food items in short period of time, for instance Sir. Yushau Shuaib a veteran journalist and publisher of PRNigeria posted on his facebook wall and I quote ‘‘I am at the Utako Market Abuja to buy millets for the birds (pigeons). It was N250 for a ‘Mudu’ just last Month June 30. The same ‘Mudu’ is N500 today July 21, 2021. I shout at the seller, who is also a Northerner. The Hausa man simply replies that “Most of our brothers who are farmers are either attacked, abducted or afraid to go farms because of insecurity. Almost all other food produces have gone up too!”
As I am writing this article, the mudu of millet is N680 in Kano state and N6… in Bauchi State. We have never had anything like this, this astronomical price is something else. Nigeria should reimpose the price control Act so as to adopt a new price mechanism that will give the poor opportunity to purchase goods and services at affordable rate.
If China a world largest second economy is planning to strengthen her price control of some certain commodities why developing countries like us won’t do the same?
Just last few months “Premier Li Keqiang said that the government of China will strive to prevent rising commodity prices being passed on to consumers.” China mentioned some commodities to control their prices which include: crude oil, soybean, corn, natural gas and other commodities to arrest the price fluctuations which is affecting Chinese.
Unknown to many Nigerians of our age, the law of price control that prohibits anybody to buy or sell a commodity at a price which exceeds the controlled price fixed by the government still exist. Price Control Act came to be in 1977 and was fully imposed and enforced during the military regime when President Buhari was the Head of the State. The question many will ask is can this Act be reimposed during a democratic dispensation? Yes. Therefore, is time to dust it off again.
Mr. President may note that the inflation could be tackled and curbed but the killings must stop to allow farmers go their farms so as to arrest the food insecurity that is facing us in the near future. When the demand is high and there is no much commodity in the market as a result of not allowing farmers to farm crops the price is expected to shoot up, this is another factor that President Buhari should frown at apart from reimposing the price control Act.
It is also worth to note that while reimposing the Act, there is another need to include certain goods and services in the controlled commodities of 1977. The controlled commodities of 1977 includes: Bicycles and spare parts, Flour, Matches, Milk, Motorcycles and spare parts, Motor vehicles and spare parts, Petroleum products, Salt and Sugar. Majority of Nigerians use maize, cooking oil and meat in large quantities among other things. Nigerians also use air, rail and road transportations which need to be properly controlled.
Not only exorbitant and price inflationary, the Act also controls the incidence of hoarding and the creation of artificial scarcity by the suppliers of goods. Even the so called fuel subsidy will be dealt with if the ceiling price is imposed by the government.
Comr Doji Doji can be reached via 08026662444, [email protected]