FCCC to organise more outreach programs

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) chief executive officer Joel Abraham after their talanoa session with villagers of Narewa in Nadi. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission will be organising more community outreach programs on fair trade, competition and consumer protection in the country.

This is after the FCCC chief executive officer Joel Abraham recently held talanoa sessions with the residents of Vitogo Village in Lautoka and Narewa Village in Nadi.

The session allowed the residents to discuss key consumer issues with FCCC and formed a platform for the villagers to gain insights on their rights and responsibilities as a consumer, the roles and functions and the complaints handling procedure of FCCC.

The sessions are part of FCCC’s community engagement and education program.

During the talanoa sessions, Mr Abraham explained the issue of increasing cost of living and how the issue can be tackled by consumers.

He informed the villagers as to how FCCC contributes to the affordable cost of living in Fiji through price regulations.

Mr Abraham explained that the price of certain items fluctuates due to number of reasons, such as, the importation cost, processing cost, cartage cost and so forth.

He stated that Fiji has been classified as the price taker rather than price setter, as majority of the items are imported in Fiji.

For example, products such as rice, wheat and split peas are not grown locally but they are imported, processed, packed and retailed locally in Fijian supermarkets.

Mr Abraham also highlighted that due to various associated costs which are taken into consideration while price authorization is done, the prices of the items fluctuates.

He informed the villagers that while the prices of items at times increased, it also decreased as well.

This is again based on the international prices of items which are beyond Fiji’s control. However, Mr Abraham noted that FCCC continued to look for best practices for pricing to ensure consumer affordability.

Mr Abraham informed the villagers that they can tackle increasing costs by being a smart and informed consumer, through shopping around and comparing prices of items before making a purchase.

The Turaga Ni Mataqali and Mata ni Tikina Nadi, Isaia Saukuru said the session were very informative as they got the opportunity to know their rights and responsibilities as a consumer.

With the five-year strategic plan in place, FCCC is effectively working towards auctioning the goals outlined.

This encompasses creating a well informed and fair market place for all Fijians.

FCCC encourages communities and villages to be forthcoming and attend such forums which can allow them to learn the rights and responsibilities as a consumer and at the same time get to learn how FCCC can assist them with their grievances.

Community advisory councilors and village headmen are encouraged to contact FCCC if they wish to have a community session in their area.

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