Anambra State chapter of the National Conscience Party (NCP), has condemned in strong terms the establishment of a 48-member task force on the prohibition of adulterated/counterfeit products in markets in Anambra State.

The party said that the task force which was horridly put together by the state government was aimed at extorting traders.

The State Chairman of NCP, Chief Peter Okala, said this while fielding questions from newsmen.

He said, “how can the government set up the task force barely a year to the expiration of its eight-year tenure in office, it is a fire brigade approach targeted at extorting the traders. In setting up such a task force at its last lap, the Obiano administration, no doubt has demonstrated that it has an ulterior motive and at the same time, anti-traders phenomenon since the task force would go all out to extort and victimize the traders in the name of searching for adulterated goods and products in the markets and warehouses”.

Recall that the state government had through the office of the Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Hon. Uchenna Okafor, rolled out the 48-member task force headed by Charles Mokwe with a charge to combat the influx of sub standard goods and counterfeit drugs in all the markets in the state.

In a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Commerce, Samuel Chinedu Ike, on behalf of the Commissioner, government said the setting up of the task force which took effect from May 1 2021, was in pursuance of Anambra state House of Assembly Resolution No. 1 of 2020 which mandated the Governor to direct the Commissioner to set up the task force.

The letter noted that the terms of reference of the task force included collaborating with appropriate authorities to fish out the producers and sellers of sub standard goods and products within the state and hand them over for prosecution, recommend to the authorities the search of all premises they believe or suspect that adulterated and sub standard goods are produced packed or sold.

The NCP had earlier in statement noted with dismay the fire brigade approach now being applied by APGA out-going government to impoverish traders in the state.

The statement, jointly signed by the state Chairman of the party, Comrade Peter Okala and Secretary, Chief Raymond Anyaeji said that the party discovered that the Hon Commissioner of Trade and Commerce has toed the path of his predecessors in Obiano administration who had demonstrated the highest level of desperation in making lives unbearable for the teeming traders across Anambra State.

“Another boiling issue here is that billions of naira collected by this government as revenue from traders annually in Anambra State Markets in the past six years were not receipted and traders are now living in fear because if by tomorrow a new government from another party outside APGA emerges victorious from the November 6 governorship election in the state and decides to do revalidation of all the shops in the markets, those who could not produce receipt of the payment of their revenue might be compelled to make double payment or face the consequence”.

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