The need To Establish Price Control Board in Kogi.

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By Dada Ahmed.

Mr. and Mrs. A.A. Abdullahi are a couple whose marital bliss of almost 30 years has become a source of admiration for their neighbors in Lokoja, Kogi State.

The couple is known not only for peace within their family but also for extending that to their neighbors, who see their actions as worthy of emulation.

“For the past 25 years that I’ve known this couple, I have never seen them quarrel either among themselves or with neighbors.

“They represent the concept of a good husband and wife whose relationship with their neighbors remains exemplary and worthy of emulation,” Aliyu Mustapha, a neighbor of this cherished couple living in Lokoja acknowledges

Recently, tongues wagged as neighbors woke up to see their most admired couple exchanging hot words that degenerated to the level of physical combat in the area.

Those who rushed to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Abdullahi to defuse the situation were surprised to discover that the quarrel was more about economic issues than anything else.

Panting profusely after some punches from her husband and with bruises on her face, Mrs. Abdullahi said in a low voice, “Our quarrel, the first of its kind since we married, has to do with the high cost of living due to the galloping inflation in the country.

“Before the current galloping inflation, whenever Alhaji gave me N50,000 to buy foodstuffs, I usually came back home from the market with plenty of food that would last us for a month. But now, with N100,000, I can hardly buy foodstuffs that will last the family for half of the month.

“When I told him of my predicament in this regard, he accused me of trying to be a smart wife, playing tricks by cornering part of the money meant for buying food for my personal gain,” she said.

After the quarrel was settled, the husband had no option but to tender an unreserved apology to his wife, promising that the ugly history would never repeat itself.

“I should have known better, given the prevailing high inflation in the country and its effects on the cost of living, but I ask for my wife’s forgiveness,” Alhaji Abdullahi repented.

Economic analysts view the above quarrel between the couple as bearing a resemblance to what many couples in Nigeria are going through as inflation bites harder and prices of foodstuffs and other essentials skyrocket.

According to ChatGPT, a sophisticated language model, developed by OpenAI, inflation has emerged as a significant challenge for many regions, and Kogi State is no exception.

The model derives its facts from the rising prices of essential goods and services, noting that with the current hard economic reality, the stability of households is under threat.

Beyond this economic reality, there are feelings in some quarters in the state that many market women and of course,men in state,especially Lokoja,the state are making life very much unbearable for buyers through indiscriminate increase in the prices of foods stuffs.

Feelers from Magistrate’s Court in the state indicates increased statistics of divorce based on the harsh economic situation in the country and its sour effects, especially on the couples .

As Nigerians groan under yoke of galloping inflation,economic experts have called on the Kogi State government to establish a Price Control Board (PCB) as one of the effective ways to address the high cost of living in the state.
They assured that PCB’s potential roles and benefits would go a long way in curbing inflation and ensuring economic stability not just for families but for the state as a whole.

It is instructive to note that inflation in Kogi State, like other states of the federation, is characterized by multiple factors, including supply chain disruptions, hoarding, and speculative pricing.

“Essential commodities like food, fuel, and healthcare services have seen fluctuating prices, affecting the cost of living and the purchasing power of residents. Addressing these issues requires a structured approach that a PCB can provide,” the AI language model states.

The argument in some quarters in Lokoja is that, if the state government establishes the PCB, it would serve as a regulatory body to monitor and control the prices of essential commodities. They argue that regular price monitoring and regulation by the PCB can prevent unjustified hikes and ensure fair pricing.

Other functions of the envisaged board, according to the model, include establishing a robust system for daily or weekly price checks on essential goods, using data to identify and address price anomalies.

According to them,the PCB has the capacity to prevent hoarding and speculative practices, checking the creation of artificial scarcity, which leads to price spikes. The board, if established, would conduct inspections and audits to prevent hoarding and impose strict penalties on offenders.

The establishment of the board would lead to the subsidizing of essential goods, making them more affordable, and protecting low-income households from inflationary pressures in the view of experts in financial management.

The contention among discerning minds in Lokoja is that PCB will be able identify critical goods for subsidies and develop transparent distribution mechanisms to ensure targeted support.

Public awareness and education ,the argument goes,would become a critical component and function of the board where educated consumers will less likely to engage in panic buying and more likely to report price gouging.

Keen watchers of inflationary trends in Kogi, especially in the state capital suggest that on board, PCB should launch awareness campaigns about price regulations and consumer rights through various media platforms.

Effective collaboration with stakeholders—producers, suppliers, and retailers—would ensure a balanced approach to price control, in addition to organizing regular dialogue forums with stakeholders to discuss fair pricing strategies and supply chain efficiencies.

Experts further urged that on a long term basis,the state government could maintain strategic reserves as a buffer against supply shocks and stabilize prices during shortages. Establishing and managing reserves of critical commodities would ensure their availability during crises.

The AL model advocates for policies that support local production and infrastructural improvements in transportation and storage.

While the call for the establishment of a PCB in Kogi presents numerous benefits, it also presents challenges such as ensuring transparency, preventing corruption, and managing public expectations.

To address these challenges, the following recommendations are essential: implementing transparent mechanisms for price monitoring and subsidy distribution, establishing clear accountability frameworks for PCB officials and stakeholders, and ensuring effective public participation in the PCB’s processes through feedback mechanisms and community involvement.

In the final analysis, the necessity of a Price Control Board in Kogi cannot be overemphasized as it will play a pivotal role in monitoring prices, preventing exploitation, and ensuring fair access to essential goods.

No doubt, if established,the PCB will have the capacity to significantly mitigate the impact of inflation and ensure a crucial step towards economic stability and an improved quality of life for the residents of Kogi State,

Dada Ahmed publishes The Reporters.

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