On Monday, March 23, 2020, the Federal Government announced measures to combat COVID-19, secure citizens, ensure containment, and prevent spread. A key component of the announcement was a directive that all non-essential Federal Government employees were to desist from commuting and working from office locations.
The Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Commission is complying with the directive. The limited available capacity necessitates a work review. As such, the Commission currently prioritizes COVID-19 related complaints/issues. Of particular importance is our continuing surveillance and work to prevent unconscionable, unjust, unreasonable, exploitative, predatory or unscrupulous conduct by businesses, whether manufacturer/importer, distributor, or retailer such as price gouging, and supply manipulation of critical hygiene products, medications and other vital medical devices/supplies.
Section 17(g), (h), & (s) of the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) empowers the Commission to address the abuses identified above. Section 124 prohibits any undertaking from using “unfair tactics or any other similar conduct” in marketing or supply of goods and services. Section 127(1)(a) prohibits any undertaking from offering or supplying goods or services at “manifestly unfair, unreasonable or unjust prices”
The law provides regulatory consequences, including criminal prosecution for these violations. Businesses are therefore counseled to operate within the law, or risk consequences which may include prosecution. We have intervened in some instances and the regulatory and remedial process is ongoing. Where we are unable to take immediate action due to the prevailing situation, we will after the fact, at a more auspicious time.
We have created a dedicated platform for receiving information/complaints or intelligence about these practices where consumers can provide details of conduct, the perpetrator, location and where applicable, pictures that will aid investigation.
The dedicated platform is telephone number 07086159973 and can receive messages, images and videos by WhatsApp.
With respect to merger review, we will accept time sensitive and urgent notifications for review. We are currently developing a process for remote filing and guidance for an Ad Hoc arrangement for such notifications. We will communicate the same in due course.
Again, we encourage consumers to be cautious, stay safe, cooperate and comply with all directives, protocols, orders or guidance of the relevant authorities during this global emergency.
Chief Executive Officer