AS part of measures to protect residents from exploitation and price hikes, the Ondo State government has banned the regulatory roles of various trade and artisan unions in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by Commissioner for Information and Orientation Donald Ojogo on Thursday.
Ojogo said the decision was taken in the overall socio-economic interest of the people of the state.
He said no trade and artisan union was allowed to fix uniform prices for goods and services in the state.
“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,” he said
“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.”
He said individuals, artisans, traders, service providers and farmers were henceforth allowed to operate, sell their produce and render any service in any part of the state as they might deem profitable, based on the principle of demand, supply and prevailing market forces.
The statement added that membership of any associations and unions remained voluntary as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
He noted that “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.”
In August, the state had moved swiftly to ban the state chapter of the Association of Tippers and Quarry Owners of Nigeria after it suddenly hiked the prices of sharp sand by 100 per cent.