Nigeria: Coronavirus - Jumia Delists 390 Products Over Price Hike

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Jumia Nigeria has delisted 390 products belonging to 168 sellers of hand sanitisers and face masks from its platform.

The development followed a warning by FCCPC to sellers against price gouging and arbitrary increases in prices of protective and hygiene products in the wake of the recent outbreak of coronavirus.

The Chief Executive Officer, FCCPC, Babatunde Irukera, had issued the warning in a February 28 statement.

"This unusual and inordinate practice of unreasonably increasing the price of these (protective and hygiene) products in an indiscriminate manner, on account of the national public health concern (Coronavirus) violates both moral codes and extant law," he said.

The chairwoman, Nigeria and Head of Institutional Affairs, Jumia Group, Juliet Anammah, informed the FCCPC of its action through communication over the weekend.

The letter reads in part: "Let me reconfirm that at Jumia we want to work with your agency, most especially at a critical time like this.

"The actions we have taken are listed below.

Website Clean-up:

"390 products belonging to 168 sellers for sanitisers and face masks have been delisted. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing process as sellers can relist products. Thus, we will be doing hourly checks and clean up if necessary.

"We are manually selecting now only SKUs with the best prices to be listed."

"A further communication has been sent to ALL sellers to notify them that we will delist all SKUs with prices seen to be taking advantage of the situation.

"We also asked the sellers with items delisted to review the prices if they would like to be relisted," the online retailer said.

Longer-term actions:

"We have identified a seller that we can source from directly - this will ensure that we relist some of the essential items at better prices.

"We have also partnered with Reckitt Benckiser across Africa (manufacturer of sanitisers) to reduce the prices of their products on our site while we take 0% commission on all their sanitisers sold on our site.

"Additionally, since we have millions of consumers on our site and some are searching for "coronavirus" on our site, we can collaborate with you (FCCPC) by ensuring the first result they find when they search for coronavirus is a URL leading to a message from either FCCPC or the Minister of Health. Let me know and we can set it up."

This is the second time JUMIA is responding to FCCPC's warning in the last one week.

The management of the online market had reportedly written to bring to the attention of its vendors a release by the FCCPC.

"It has been observed that some sellers may have engaged in the arbitrary increase of prices on protective and hygienic products such as face masks, hand sanitizers etc. on account of the Coronavirus with a view of taking advantage of consumers.

"Please note that sellers who are found engaging in this unwholesome practice will find themselves subject to investigations and penalties by the FCCPC," it cautioned.

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