Vil­lage Head­men to Con­duct FCCC Du­ties

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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.

Fo­cus

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.

Of­fi­cers

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

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.

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