The Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Honourable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, has today reiterated his warning to traders to refrain from engaging in price gouging and other unfair trade practices.
“It has been noted that some traders have exploited consumers following Cyclone Winston. These practices are not acceptable and will not be tolerated by the Fijian Government”, said the Minister.
The Minister said that Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism is working with Fiji Commerce Commission and is undertaking inspections to ensure that the traders involved in such unethical practices are punished by spot fines and/or prosecutions.
“Consumers have lodged complaints that some traders have increased the prices of goods and services in a potentially unethical manner. This is also illegal and will not go unpunished,” added the Minister.
The Minister further confirmed that investigations by the Fiji Commerce Commission this week have led to a number of traders, including hardware suppliers and supermarkets, being issued $3,000 spot fines for breach of pricing laws for products, such as, batteries, candles, torches, bottled water, hurricane lanterns and lamps, solar panels, chargers and lights, ropes, building materials, generators, tarpaulin, tents, kitchen utensils, carpentry and electrical tools, matches, farming tools, beddings, groceries. “On top of this, some traders have been found selling flood/cyclone damaged items such as freezer goods and electrical appliances, to name a few. In addition, perishable food products that are spoilt should not be sold for human consumption,” stated the Minister. The Minister highlighted that the above conduct amounts to unfair trade practices under the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 and that appropriate action will be taken.
The Ministry calls on all traders to fulfil its social corporate responsibilities and civil duties in supporting the Fijian Government in rebuilding the nation. The Ministry also encourages consumers to report any suspected price gouging or other unethical trade practices to the Fiji Commerce Commission.