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PNG ICCC Warns Business houses on increase of unjustified Prices on Goods and Services

The Papua New Guinea  Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) is very concerned about the unjustified price increases on Rice by some traders in the country due to the COVID-19 or Coronavirus State of Emergency.

This follows complaints from consumers that certain retail outlets have significantly increased the prices of their goods.

The ICCC said it will come down hard on these retailers who are taking advantage of this State of Emergency and charging excessive prices on basic household goods like rice, flour, and sugar.

ICCC is strongly cautioning businesses that such actions may have the potential to suppress the efforts to contain the coronavirus in communities.

It has come to ICCC’s attention that some traders have suddenly increased the price of rice to take advantage of the panic shopping by citizens due to the lockdown in the country.

ICCC Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Paulus Ain in a statement pointed out that overcharging is immoral and affects all consumers, particularly the elderly, the sick and children.

Commissioner Ain pointed out that one major rice supplier in the country has informed ICCC that they have not increased their prices since 2019 and also indicated that there is a sufficient supply of rice in the country.

Mr. Ain stressed that there is no reason for retailers and wholesalers to suddenly hike the prices for rice during this state of emergency.

He said those who are found to be overcharging consumers during this period will be arrested by Police and will also face significant fines.

Meanwhile, ICCC assured that it will publish a list of goods and services that have been approved by the Minister for Treasury to be closely monitored during this State of Emergency.

Meantime ICCC Commissioner will hold a press conference at 1pm this afternoon to further highlight issues concerning price gouging in light of the State of Emergency.

NBC News / PNG Today

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