Competition watchdog to crack down on price gouging during coronavirus outbreak

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The Competition Commission will fast-track complaints about rising prices for essential products to ensure that firms exploiting consumers are quickly prosecuted and penalised during the state of national disaster, it said on Friday.

With heightened concerns about Covid-19, the commission has noted several complaints from the public about rising prices for essential products, in particular some food, healthcare and hygiene products, the antitrust body said in a statement.

There are also concerns of suppliers inflating prices as government, retailers and private healthcare companies embark on emergency procurement of products to curb and manage the spread of coronavirus.

The government has gazetted regulations aimed at strengthening the ability of the Competition Commission and the National Consumer Commission to respond to exploitative pricing. The commission has set up a dedicated team to respond and investigate complaints, and to fast track these through referral and prosecution before the Competition Tribunal, it said.

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