The Ondo State Government has placed an indefinite ban on all Trading Unions and Associations under the Ondo State United Artisan Group from fixing and enforcing prices of goods and services across the state.
It said the decision to place an indefinite ban was taken in the overall socio-economic interest of the people that were been extorted by the unions.
According to the government, the unions, before the ban, extort customers through incessant increases in prices of goods and services by artisans including farm produce and food items.
Announcing the ban on Thursday, through a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, the state government stressed that investigations revealed that the union fixes price without regard for the forces of demand and supply for goods in the state.
The statement reads: “Government had before now, watched with discomfort and dismay, the economic suffocation of the people with unimaginable increases in prices of goods and services in markets, shops, and other sales outlets across the state.
“Even without due regard for market forces, it is obvious that associations and unions are largely behind this unwholesome act. The state government has decided to act decisively even as the public deserves protection from this undesirable exploitation under some guises.
“Therefore, fixing market prices and imposing fixed exorbitant prices on the people under the guise of association or union must be stopped forthwith.
“Accordingly, as part of the measures, Individuals, Artisans, Traders and providers of services as well as farmers are henceforth allowed to operate, sell their produce and render any service in any part of the state as they may deem profitable, based on the principle of demand and supply and prevailing market forces. This is just as membership of associations and unions remains voluntary as provided for in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
“Consequently, Government’s right to regulate the activities of Trading Associations and Artisan groups has to be invoked in the interest of residents. Therefore, on no account should any Union/Association fix or enforce prices of goods and services.
“Similarly, there shall be no sale of tickets to Artisans/Traders by any Association/Union without due approval of the state Government through the Internal Revenue Service”.
“All concerned are, therefore, advised to adhere strictly to this directive as any person or group found to be flouting it will be made to face the full weight of the extant laws. It is to be noted too that this directive takes effect from TODAY in all markets and sales outlets across the 18 LGAs of the state”.