Price control for disasters

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer Joel Abraham, and Fiji Consumer Council ceo Consumer Council of Fiji chief executive officer Premila Kumar during the press conference yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE Consumer Council of Fiji has proposed in its 2018/2019 Budget submission that certain items be placed in price control when Government declares a natural disaster. Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said Fijians affected by natural disasters would benefit greatly from initiatives as such.

Ms Kumar made the remarks following the announcement by Consumer Commission CEO Joel Abraham that it would set up a taskforce consisting of personnel from both institutions to investigate traders allegedly conducting unfair trading.

This is as most Fijians affected by the two back to back cyclones — Josie and Keni — are now part of Government’s Cyclone Assistance Relief Effort (CARE) for Fiji program, where Fijians can access assistance under several programs that include the purchase of household items, farming equipment and other household materials damaged during the natural disasters.

Ms Kumar said placing certain items on price control would mean traders would not being able to cheat victims after natural disasters.

“But at a time like this, I strongly believe that we need price control. And that is one area that we are suggesting in our budget submission. We are simply talking about getting price control during natural disasters,” Ms Kumar said.

“So price control will be for a short period, targeting such initiatives when it rolls out by the Government.” Government will announce the 2018/2019 budget on June 22.