Competition Law to Check Price Fixing and Unfair Trading Practices – CUTS Ghana

File Photo

File Photo

Unfair trading practices and market distortions whereby some traders and business associations meet to fix prices for goods and services in the country would soon be a thing of the past with the passage of the competition policy and law, said Appiah Kusi Adomako, the Centre Coordinator for CUTS Ghana.

Mr. Adomako said a national competition policy and law would infuse a level playing field in key markets and enhance the predictability and certainty in the market, thereby stimulating entrepreneurship and economic growth, which becomes a win-win for both consumers and producers.

Mr. Adomako said that provisions in the competition policy and law would protect consumers and producers from unfair trading practices by businesses and trade association.

He explained that a competition policy lays down government’s commitment to promote competition across all sectors of an economy, adding that it aimed to remove policy distortions that affected competition in markets.

Mr Adomako said this at a day’s conference on the theme; “Competition Regime in Ghana; Need of the Nation”, organised by CUTS Ghana.

It was sponsored by the BUSAC Fund and supported by the Denmark Embassy in Ghana, DANIDA, International Development Cooperation, USAID and EU.

He added that the current laws in the country do not address fully the whole issue of competition and unfair trade practice in the market. For example, he said competition law will sure that mergers and acquisitions in the country does not result in a giant monopoly or great dominance and concentration by firm such that it makes it difficult for other small businesses to compete.

He said the way towards a functional competition regime in Ghana was by a national competition policy, adoption of a competition law, Ghana, identification laws with provision affecting competition in markets and establishment of national competition authority.

Mr. Kofi Amenyah, the Legal Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) assured the participants that the draft competition policy would soon be put before stakeholders to solicit their input. He added that work on the competition bill will soon begin. He was hopeful that all these could happen before the end of the year.

Mr Amenyah said some benefits of competition reforms for producers include; safeguard against practices by other businesses, lower entry barriers to promote entrepreneurship and growth efficient allocation and willingness of resources to ensure efficient and enhanced productivity.

He said since 1999 the nation has been grappling with issues on competition especially when there was no law and policy and at a point had to seek technical support from partners.

He said the competition law empowers a competition commission to curb anti-competitive practices which included anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance in an economy.

Speaking on the topic; “ Market Distortion and Anti-Competitive Trade Practices; The Case of Price Fixing in Ghana”, Ms Edayatu Lamptey of CUTS Ghana, said competitors were independent of each other, but in the Ghanaian market for example, insurance companies had agreed to sell motor insurance cover at a cost of Gh₵1.30 a day, adding that last year private health insurance premium went up to a minimum of 1,000 Ghana cedis and sachet water producers are set to increase the prices of their products due to the increases in utility tariffs.

She said the Ghana Cement Manufacturers Association has appealed to the government to ban imported cement into the country.

Ms Lamptey indicated that price fixing was a common anti-competitive practice in Ghanaian market. .

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