Village Headmen to Conduct FCCC Duties
LUSIANA TUIMAISALA SUVA
The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the iTaukei Affairs Board. This MoU allows the village headmen to partially conduct FCCC duties with regards to the monitoring of village business stores unofficial price increase. FCCC Commissioner Vimlesh Sagar said in recent years, FCCC had been scouting for agencies to share its enforcement role in rural and remote areas of Fiji. Mr Sagar said this was inevitable for FCCC, given the cost and resources required to provide the presence required in these areas. The FCCC is given the mandate to appoint officers from the other agencies to assist in the fulfillment of its function.
Mr Sagar said the focus of this MOU is the appointment of the village headmen in all villages around Fiji as enforcement officers in the area of monitoring compliance to the FCCC Act 2010. “This will ensure that those stationed in divisional, sub-divisional, provincial, Tikina and village level are aware of this MoU. This including its implementation and related policies.”
Specifically, the village headmen will be expected to assist FCCC in the conduct of market surveillance within their area of jurisdiction.
FCCC will be required to provide them with the relevant training before their official appointments as inspectors or enforcement officers.
This is expected to greatly enhance compliance by traders in villages and remote areas to the requirements of the FCCC Act 2010.
FCCC believes that this partnership will serve the vested interest of both agencies in improving compliance to the FCCC Act 2010, and ensuring that villagers and rural dwellers benefit from the provisions of goods and services that are affordable and safe for daily consumption.
Mr Sagar said the appointed officers will be provided with adequate legal powers and resources to conduct their work and the principle of ensuring compliance will be applied in a progressive
and systematic manner most appropriate for such settings.
Issues such as overcharging, no price marking/display of prices, non-issuance of receipts and any form of unfair trade conduct is arrested early and attended to more promptly than currently is the case.
He said once the MoU in full operation, will ensure rural dwellers enjoy the same or similar level of prices and safety of goods and services available to their urban counter-parts. This will assist in fulfilling one of FCCC’s mission and that to enhance the welfare of all Fijians.
iTaukei Affairs Board
iTaukei Affairs Board permanent secretary Meleti Bainimarama said the board was also privileged to contribute personnel resources as in this case, the village headmen, to be part of its work responsibility in improving village price control to promote business at village level.
He said there are financial and technical support provided to small and medium enterprises from various financial and government institutions allowing positive operation of SMEs in villages.
“The iTaukei Affairs Board is thankful to FCCC for approving its role to monitor price control at village level and such work collaboration is timely for the itaukei affairs board considering the zero tolerance penalty fees mandated with the FCCC for illegal price increase.” Mr Bainimarama said this was an early achievement at the beginning of a new financial year showing the commitment from the Board and FCCC to pursue the responsible mandatory duties and effectively contributes to Fiji’s Gross Domestic Product.
From left: iTaukei Affairs Board permanent secretary Meleti Bainimarama and Fiji Competition Consumer Commission Commissioner Vimlesh Sagar during the MoU signing on August 5, 2019.