…vows to sanction market unions stalling sale of garri, other foodstuff
The Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed displeasure over the recent hike in prices of foodstuff, especially, garri in the state.
WAt an Interactive Session with market leaders on Price Regulation of Garri and other Commodities attended by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet and Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, at Governor’s Office Annex, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo on Tuesday. The government frowned at the various activities of market unions which it said have led to hike in prices of garri in the state.
Speaking at the event, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Trade and Market Matters, Akparawa Idorenyin Raphael, said the government would sanction erring market unions or leaders who prevent sale of garri across different markets in the state.
Raphael said that market unions existed primarily to protect the welfare of traders, but however condemned incessant levies charged by the unions which he said was a setback to garri sellers across the state.
“Government has consistently given out farm inputs like cassava stems to farmers but it’s bad that our people are selling garri to other states. Anyone who insists that a trader must join a certain union before selling garri in the market will be sanctioned. We don’t need such regulations again. We have to free the market so that there will be enough food for the people”, he said.
Subsequently, the Governor’s Aide announced that a monitoring team has been set up to ensure that garri is being sold at three cups for One Hundred Naira across the state.
He also disclosed that erring market unions who flaunt government directives on regulation of food prices would be made to pay a fine of N500,000.
“If anyone brings garri to the market to sell and you stop the person on the guise that he or she is not in the union, you will have issues with government. Once we apprehend you, the fine is N500,000 and you must pay. We must free the market so people can sell”, he said.
Raphael also made a case for a reduction in prices of daily tickets charged by different local government councils, saying the current situation has brought untold hardship to traders across markets in the state.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Glory Edet said Governor UDOM Emmanuel was keen about the welfare of traders in the state and called on them to ensure stable prices of foodstuff in the markets.
Edet particularly commended Akparawa Idorenyin Rapheal for acting as a bridge between the government and traders in the state.
On his part, the Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, said his Ministry would continue to support traders in the state but however called for immediate reduction in the prices of garri in the state.
Some of the market leaders including the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Akwa Ibom Traders, Mr Christopher Usoro and Woman Leader of Akwa Ibom Traders, Obonganwan Magdalene, thanked the government for wading into the current hike in prices of garri in the state.
They promised to cooperate with the government to ensure the situation was amicably resolved for the benefit of Akwa Ibom people.
The event which was attended by different market leaders across the state, featured an Interactive session where various issues were discussed and resolved.