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Commission outlines its focus and plans for 2018

Filipe Naigulevu
Saturday, January 13, 2018

WITH optimism for an interesting yet promising year, the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) aims to maintain the satisfactory level of compliance from traders.

Recapping on the commission's work last year, FCCC chief executive officer Joel Abraham said they had seen a significant improvement in compliance levels last year.

"The focus really had changed from going and policing traders to advocating on change in behaviour," Mr Abraham told this newspaper.

"During our Christmas season, we found 82 per cent compliance which was quite good and we are happy to have compliance level above 80 per cent.

"It shows to us that the private sector is demonstrating a commitment towards compliance which means people want to follow the law."

Last year, the commission had conducted several nationwide surveillance exercises which was meant to increase the level of compliance.

This included visits and re-visits to traders that were found in breach.

Mr Abraham said this also stemmed from the culture that Government had cultivated with its several reforms and initiatives.

"Our strategy was if you want something, you ask nicely so we went we partnered with many associations and the private sector and we said it's not in any of our interest for you to be non-compliant," he said.

"2018 we are hoping we will beat what we have done in 2017. 2018 is going to be interesting and have a lot of promise.

"The problem of setting the bar so high is maintaining it or topping it."

Among their priorities this year, the commission will soon re-design a new website that is informative to the public.

"We are going to go big on community awareness; we will do a lot of school visits to ensure that the public is aware," Mr Abraham said.

"In 2017, we have done quite a lot, and you will see that there's a few things that has happened, we have moved our office has moved from Garden City to Gorrie St, there was a change of name done and a strategic plan."

The FCCC's five year strategic plan (2017-2022), which was formulated in consultation with experts from the Asian Development Bank and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, will guide their journey in ensuring that trade and commerce in Fiji is competitive and fair.

Meanwhile, Mr Abraham has also maintained their apolitical stance this year as the nation heads into general election.

"2018 is going to be a year when there's going to be a lot of political campaigns here and there," he said.

"The simple message is we are an apolitical institution and an independent agency. During say the last general election, what had happened was there was a spike in the number of complaints.

"For us consumers are paramount, have been paramount and will continue to be paramount."

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