COVID-19: FCCC urges consumers to refrain from panic buying

Customers line-up outside a supermarket in Valelevu, Nasinu to do their shopping. Picture: ATU RASEA/FT FILE

Fijian consumers are urged to refrain from panic buying during this time and rely solely on credible news sources to make decisions for their households.

This follows reports of thousands of people flooding supermarkets earlier this week, particularly after the closure of three supermarkets for disinfection, and people acting on misinformation of a nationwide lockdown that was later confirmed to be untrue.

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) CEO Joel Abraham has urged members of the public not to rush to shops and engage in panic buying.

He said this led to people purchasing a lot more than what was needed, “which not only wastes money, but also creates a shortage of essential products such as food and medicine for other Fijians”.

“There is no shortage of goods out in the market as shipping lines have not been disrupted,” Mr Abraham said in a statement issued today.

“If you have come across empty shelves in the supermarkets, it’s only because they haven’t restocked yet. Please remain calm – we will overcome this situation just as we have in the past,” he said.

Mr Abraham said the Commission was constantly in communication with supermarkets and pharmacies in an effort to ensure adequate stock was available.

He said they had also taken a proactive approach and checked the bulk stock of businesses, and asking suppliers to submit daily stock levels.

“I also want to assure the general public that Fiji is food secure. FCCC has conducted more than 900 inspections in different areas – our teams are on the ground everyday checking for shortfalls in the supply of essential food items and medication, especially in the containment areas, so there is no reason to panic buy.”

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