By CLARISSA MOI
THE Independent Consumers and Competition Commission has no control over the wholesale and retail prices of goods and services, Commissioner Paulus Ain says.
Ain was responding to complaints by consumers that some shops were charging too much for basic items.
He said it was entirely up to the store owners to set prices.
“The ICCC is required to regulate only the prices of goods declared by the Government for price regulations under the Price Regulations Act,” he said.
“The goods currently been declared for price regulations are rice, flour and sugar. The process of determining the prices of these goods is based on the pricing review.
“The findings from this review determine the price.”
Ain said under the current price regulatory arrangements for the goods, the commission applied a price monitoring form of regulation.
“That is, the factory gate prices, retail prices and wholesale prices of rice, flour and sugar are set by the respective main suppliers/distributors, wholesalers, and retailers,” he said.
“The Independent Consumers and Competition Commission only monitors these prices especially the factory gate prices by comparing them with international benchmark prices of these respective goods to ensure that they the price trends are within the benchmark price trends.”
Price monitoring include:
- Monitoring the factory gate price, wholesale and retail prices against the international benchmark prices;
- collecting monthly factory gate prices, wholesale and retail prices from main suppliers, wholesalers and retailers;
- liaising with industry players, consumers and other stakeholders concerning these declared goods and price monitoring issues; and,
- Providing reports or updates to the Treasury Department as and when required.
Ain said the current price monitoring arrangements did not allow the commission to decide whether shopkeepers were charging higher prices.
“The Commission considers that competition would reduce the costs of goods and services in the country,” he said.
“Indeed, its main role under the ICCC Act is to promote competition.
“Competition drives efficiency in business which in turn drives prices down, increases quality of products and service standards, spurs innovation and increases consumer choice.”