After flouting the Kano state government ‘s directive to sell a 50kg bag of rice at N16,000, supermarkets in the state have finally bowed to pressure and agreed to sell at the government-approved price.
Recall that the state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje recently met with various market operators’ associations with a bid to address the problem of inflating the prices of commodditties, especially during Ramadan season.
The governor then directed the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) to wade into the matter and resolve the situation in order to cushion the suffering of the masses in the state.
The PCACC then swung into action and met with the various associations, including the Association of Supermarket Operators in a bid to sell the 50kg bag if rice at N16, 000, agreement it later breached on the premise that it could not depend on N500 profit on each bag.
However, the PCACC did not rest on its ores until it held another meeting with the association which eventually succumbed and agreed on the directive.
The PCACC on Tuesday said it has reached an agreement with Association of Supermarket operators in the state for sale of rice at N16,000 per 50kg bag.
Muhyi Magaji Rimingado, the Chairman of the anti-graft body disclosed this in an interview with newsmen shortly after a meeting with the association, and the Commissioner of Commerce in the state.
He recalled that the commission recently signed a similar agreement with the Rice Processors Association of Nigeria, (RIPAN) on selling the bag of rice at N16,000 retail price.
According to Rimingado, the agreement was aimed at controlling inflation and reducing the hardship faced by the people during the lockdown.
He also disclosed that part of the agreement with the rice processors was to sell the product at N15,500 to the supermarkets who would then sell to the public at N16,000 per bag.
“We are now playing in between the traders and the Ministry of Commerce, where we come in, because we were saddled with the responsibility of this issue of inflation of price.
“And part of the recommendations and the series of meetings we had on this issue, some of them has to do with the state government, while some has to do with the Federal Government.
“And we are making all the necessary contacts with the concerned federal agencies to ensure that we achieve our aim on this issue so that the people of Kano would benefit,” he said.
Also briefing newsmen on the issue, the state Commissioner of Commerce, Mahmud Muhammad, said the meeting was part of efforts to ensure that the agreement becomes effective.
“This meeting followed our earlier meeting with the RIFAN where we agreed to increase supply of the product to some selected supermarkets in the state on a weekly basis to make the product available to the public during the lockdown period.
“Because of this COVID-19, they will sell the rice at supermarkets in the state. The supermarkets will be receiving the goods at the rate of N15,500 and will not sell at more than N16,000.
“Hence the Supermarket owners will be buying rice directly from the processors to avoid hoarding of the product and subsequent inflation.
“They can continue their business with other traders and wholesalers but we have created a window to control hoarding and inflation in this period of lockdown,” he stated.
On his part, the Secretary of the association, Malam Umar Habu confirmed the agreement, adding that the agreement was not for them to get undue profit, but for the poor to enjoy.
According to him, it is part of their contribution to ensure that an average person in the state did not find it difficult to buy rice, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.