Press Campaign 5th WCD (2014)

7th WCD (2016) | 6th WCD (2015) | 5th WCD (2014) | 4th WCD (2013) | 3rd WCD (2012) | 2nd WCD (2011) | 1st WCD (2010)

Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) Ghana Commemorates World Competition Day 2014
Government of Ghana Official Portal, December 16, 2014

The Ghana Office of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International has appealed to the Government of Ghana and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to make the passage of the Competition Policy and Law a legislative agenda for 2015. Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Country Co-ordinator of CUTS Ghana, made the call at a Roundtable Conference to mark on World Competition Day in Accra.

World Competition Day, which aims to raise awareness about competition-related issues, is celebrated in about 100 countries worldwide and was first marked in Ghana by CUTS in 2013. This year’s World Competition Day was celebrated on the theme ‘It’s Time to Pass a National Competition Law for Ghana.’ Mr Adomako noted that businesses and consumers in Ghana continued to suffer largely due to the absence of a functional competition regime in the country, adding that in absence of competition, firms engaged in bad practices like the abuse of monopoly, price fixing, cartelization of goods and services, bid rigging and exclusive market sharing agreement, among others.

He said competition was a fundamental tenet of well-functioning markets, encouraged companies to provide consumers with the products and services that they wanted and resulted in the lowering of prices for goods and services, better service quality, wider choices for consumers, stimulation of innovation and, more importantly, efficiency in allocation of resources.

He said a competition law was key to consumer protection as well as industry growth and that a functional competition regime consisted of a national competition policy and a competition law implemented by a well-resourced competition authority. In a presentation on ‘Competition Issues in Public Procurement’, Mr Adomako said Public Procurement was an essential tool for national development when done on a level playing field. He identified bid suppression schemes, complementary bidding and bid rotation schemes as some of the competition or Anti-trust issues in public procurement.

In bid suppression schemes, he said, one or more competitors who otherwise would be expected to bid, or who had previously bid, would agree to refrain from bidding or withdraw a previously submitted bid so that the designated winning competitor’s bid would be accepted. He said Complementary bidding occurred when some competitors would agree to submit bids that either were too high to be accepted or contain special terms that would not be acceptable to the buyer. Such bids, he said, were not intended to secure the buyer’s acceptance, but were merely designed to create a (false) appearance of genuine competitive bidding.

On the other hand, he said, in bid rotation schemes, all conspirators would submit bids but take turns being the low bidder, allocating equal amounts to each conspirator or allocating volumes that corresponded to the size of each conspirator company. He said the single or sole sourcing in public procurement should give value or money and that the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) should not allow public officials to bend the rules when doing public procurement. Mr Adomako said aspects of National Competition Law, when passed, could address the issue of non-competitive tendering, adding that a competition policy and law would ensure that tax payers got value for money for goods and services. CUTS Ghana is registered is non-profit organization which works in the areas of consumer protection, economic regulation, trade and development, regional integration and competition policy and law, among others.

With funding support from the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, CUTS Ghana recently launched a project referred to as the Competition and Advocacy Project (COMPAD Project). The 15-month project, titled “Advocating for a Functional Competition Regime/ Framework,” is to be implemented in three phases, with the aim of complementing government’s efforts towards evolving a functional national competition policy and law in Ghana. Apart from the COMPAD Project, CUTS is also executing the Competition Reforms in Key Markets for Enhancing Social and economic Welfare in Developing countries (CREW Project). The project, involving three Ministries— Transport, Food and Agriculture, and Trade and Industry, with ISSER as its research partner —is to demonstrate measurable benefits from an effective competition policy and law regime in developing countries for ensuring competition reforms. Ghana as a country does not have a functional competition regime and it is expected that the efforts of CUTS through the CREW and COMPAD projects would feed into developing a sustainable competition policy and law for the country.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.ghana.gov.gh/

Cartels can harm economy – CCPC
Zambia Daily, December 08, 2014

THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) says if the procurement process continues to be distorted by cartels and other anti-competitive practices it may cause adverse economic implications. To this effect, CCPC intends to conduct a number of sensitisation programmes targeted at business community on anti-competitive practices.

CCPC board chairperson Kelvin Bwalya said the promotion of competition in the economy is not to hinder business growth but is aimed at creating a conducive market environment for all players. Mr Bwalya said this at the commemoration of the World Competition Day under the theme Competition Issues in Public Procurement in Lusaka on Friday. He said procurement is an important aspect of Government expenditure that enables it buy goods and services needed for enhancing service delivery to the public.

“Competition law prohibits any agreements between independent enterprises that have the effect of substantially lessening competition. The prohibition of anti-competitive agreements covers a wide range of restrictive business practices. “The most serious breaches of the law are cartels involving price fixing, collusive tendering and market sharing. The process of public procurement in small economies like Zambia is also not immune to the pernicious effects of cartels and other anti-competitive practices,” he said. Mr Bwalya said distortion of the procurement process can cause loss of efficiency and diversion of money away from developmental programmes by Government.

He said, however, lack of transparency, discrimination in tenders and effective mechanism makes it difficult to implement procurement policies, hence the need for CCPC to educate the public and Government on the benefits of a competitive market structure and the harmful effects of anti-competitive activities. On sensitisation programme, he said the activities will include risks of bid rigging in procurement of tenders. At the same occasion, Consumer Unity and Trust Society chairperson Yusuf Dodia said there is need to create more awareness on consumer rights.

This news item can also be viewed at: https://www.daily-mail.co.zm/

Gambia: GCCPC, GPPA Observe World Competition Day
All Africa, December 08, 2014

The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), in partnership with the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), Friday celebrated World Competition Day. The day is observed on 5 December each year by competition agencies around the globe, which gives them the opportunity to highlight the benefits of competition to the economy and to society. This year’s celebration held with the theme: “Competition Issues in Public Procurement”, also saw the two institutions hold a press briefing on their service delivery.

The event, held at the GCCPC office in Kotu, was followed by a march-past from Westfield to the Traffic-Lights at Kairaba Avenue. The briefing discussed the institutions’ objectives in the promotion and protection of consumers’ rights, the challenges and achievements, as well as the need for improvement. The institutions also revealed their service delivery expansion plans to reach consumers in other parts of the country, describing the media as a significant component in raising awareness of the consumers.

A joint statement issued by both institutions stated: “The occasion was in response to a campaign spearheaded by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) for adoption of World Competition Day to strengthen the focus on Competition Policy and Law at the international level.” It stated further that the GCCPC’s mandate is to enforce the Competition Act 2007 to promote and maintain competition in the country. They added that this year’s partnership was done with the GPPA, which is responsible for the regulation and monitoring of public procurement in The Gambia and the performance of procuring organizations to ascertain efficiency and compliance with applicable legislation, regulations and instructions.

The theme called on competition agencies to create awareness among relevant stakeholders regarding competition issues in the procurement process, and the need to support the competition authorities to meet the objective of public procurement. “Efficient procurement is to buy the best possible goods and services at the lowest price; significant public spending takes place through the public procurement system, and a well-functioning procurement system ensures that money is used effectively on programmes and services by the government. Indeed, up to 70 per cent of a government’s budget is spent through a public procurement process.

The document further highlighted the essence of effective public procurement to avoid mismanagement and waste of public funds, pointing out that public procurement policies are bound to affect the structure of the market and the behaviour of the firms in it, while the policies could determine the longer-term effects on competition in an economic sector. Policy procurement is at the interface of the private and public sectors, which requires close cooperation between the two parties to achieve value for money, which also requires a sound stewardship of public funds to reduce the risk of corrupt practices, the statement noted.

It added that public procurement is also increasingly considered a core element of accountability to the public on the way public funds are managed, while the public financial management and public procurement are intertwined. The collaboration between GCCPC and GPPA in celebrating World Competition Day is seen as a manifestation that the work of public procurement agencies and competition agencies are intrinsically linked, which calls for collective work for best results with respect to the economy and society.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://allafrica.com/

Dar lauds CCP’s role in creating competitive environment
Daily Times, December 06, 2014

Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar on Friday said competition results in lower prices and more choices for consumers, it fosters innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and helps prepare domestic firms for international competition.

The minister expressed these views while addressing a seminar to celebrate the World Competition Day, where he was the Chief Guest. The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) organized a seminar, which was attended in large number by the government officials, regulatory organizations, representatives of business community, trade associations, legal community, academia and media.

Addressing the seminar, Senator Ishaq Dar said that competition results in lower prices and more choices for consumers, it fosters innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and helps prepare domestic firms for international competition. He added that he was impressed by the progress the CCP has made in creating a pro-competition environment in the country.

“Competition also sends a positive signal to foreign investors. When foreign investors observe that the government is serious in implementing the competition regime i.e. it will not be providing domestic entities with preferential treatment over others they will be confident in investing in Pakistan, the Minister said adding that the CCP had the support of the Government in the discharge of its statutory obligations. He also congratulated the CCP for organizing the seminar.

Earlier, addressing the seminar, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador of EU Delegation to Pakistan, stated that Pakistan has a competition agency that it can be proud of. He said that for the Competition law to be effectively enforced it requires a strong Competition Commission. He was of the view that Pakistan should get rid of discriminatory SROs. He said that under the CCP had an able leadership which was working towards tackling distortions in the market.

Dr. Joseph Wilson, Chairman, CCP while addressing the audience stated the purpose of the seminar was to create awareness of competition law and enforcement issues. He stated that the promulgation of competition law in Pakistan, among other reasons, is the fulfilment of UN Resolutionm35/63 of the 5th December 1980.

Dr. Joseph informed the audience that the current challenging economic conditions ensuring competitive markets and a level playing field for national and international players is extremely important to attract investment. He said that the Competition Act of Pakistan did envisage that combating private restraint in the market is not sufficient and that it is extremely important to review the effects of government regulations and actions. Therefore, in addition to the substantive enforcement provisions the Competition Law mandates the Commission to do competition advocacy.

The theme of the first session was “Unfair trade practices and loss to consumer welfare”. Khalid Mirza, former Chairman CCP, while addressing the session stated that Competition is the most significant charter, manga carta so to speak for the protection of consumers. Ms. Syma Ahmed, Assistant Professor, FC College University in her presentation talked about dark practices whereby companies use tricks to psychologically lead consumers into believing what is not in the best interest of consumers.

Saad Amanullah Khan, former CEO Gillette observed that Strong institutions are like regulators, guardians like parents who need to discipline children. There should be open competition and a check on anti-competitive practices that lead to a dominant position. Dr. Shahzad Ansar, CCP Member threw light on the new initiative of CCP in the areas dealing with the Office of Fair Trading.

The second session was on the theme of “Public Restraints and its impact on Competition”. The debate focused on how regulatory barriers such as tax and duty exemptions were hampering competition. Dr Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, gave the example of the telecom sector as a success story. He noted that there was modest growth in the telecom sector in the pre-deregulation period. He said that PTA’s approach has always been to promote Competition in the telecom sector and competition in the telecom sector has increased after deregulation.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/

Staple food crops pricing: CCP takes note of suspected cartelization
Business Recorder, December 06, 2014

Dr Joseph Wilson, Chairman Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Friday disclosed that the CCP has taken notice of the suspected cartelisation in staple food crops pricing and is sharing data with the relevant ministries. On the occasion of a seminar organized by the CCP in connection with the World Competition Day-2014, he said that the commission has taken notice of the staple food items pricing and suspected cartelisation in this area. In this regard, CCP is exchanging data with the relevant ministries.

CCP Member Mueen Batlay asserted that the commission is actively looking into the food sector to check any possibility of cartelization in transaction of such commodities. On the issue of smuggling, Dr Joseph Wilson informed that the CCP is also looking into the smuggling of tea in the garb of Afghan Transit Trade. The CCP has limited mandate to check smuggling but it is investigating the issue with the powers available under the law.

In his presentation, CCP Member Mueen Batlay said that the CCP wants to ensure that all restraints, private or public, which hurt competition, were being watched. The CCP has vast powers, and it is up to us how we develop a competition policy and to ensure that the government policy is in line with competition policy.

He said that the section 29 of the Competition Act: Advocacy as a tool to respond to public restraints or regulatory barriers. CCP is empowered to review policy frameworks and to advise the government. He also gave examples of Policy Notes (Construction sector, GIDC and ICH).

He said that the exemptions were given to NLC, NCL and FWO on performance bond and security money in the construction sector. Resultantly an edge was given to these companies in terms of cash flows. Other companies were restricted to provide guarantees and bonds to the entities they were getting contracts from. This raised the cost by 20-30% for those companies not given exemptions.

About the GIDC Policy note, he said that price differential between pre and post 2001 fertilizer plants was enhanced as a result of GIDC levy. This eroded the level playing field. CCP recommended that GIDC should be levied uniformly. The matter is now sub-judice.

About the ICH Policy Note, he said that under proposed agreement, all incoming international traffic would be routed through PTCL infrastructure. The supposed basis was to curtail or eliminate grey traffic, but ICH was actually reversing development in the telecom sector. This was against the very spirit of competition as there was no incentive to improve sales or services for LDI operators. CCP recommended that ICH should be withdrawn. The ultimate victory was for the consumers. This matter is currently sub-judice, he added.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.brecorder.com/

Competition regime sends positive signals to investors
The Nation, December 06, 2014

The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) organised a seminar to celebrate the World Competition Day, which was attended in large number by the government officials, regulatory organisations and representatives of business community, trade associations, legal community, academia and media.

Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Ishaq Dar was the chief guest at the seminar. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador of EU delegation to Pakistan attended the opening session of the seminar.

Addressing the seminar, Senator Ishaq Dar said that competition results in lower prices and more choices for consumers; it fosters innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and helps prepare domestic firms for international competition. He added that he was impressed by the progress the CCP has made in creating a pro-competition environment in the country.

“Competition also sends a positive signal to foreign investors. When foreign investors observe that the government is serious in implementing the competition regime i.e. it will not be providing domestic entities with preferential treatment over others they will be confident in investing in Pakistan, the Minister said adding that the CCP had the support of the Government in the discharge of its statutory obligations. He also congratulated the CCP for organising the seminar.

Earlier while addressing the seminar Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, stated that Pakistan has a competition agency that it can be proud of. He said that for the Competition law to be effectively enforced it requires a strong Competition Commission. He was of the view that Pakistan should get rid of discriminatory SROs. He said that under the CCP had an able leadership which was working towards tackling distortions in the market. Dr. Joseph Wilson, Chairman, CCP while addressing the audience stated the purpose of the seminar was to create awareness of competition law and enforcement issues. He stated that the promulgation of competition law in Pakistan, among other reasons, is the fulfillment of UN Resolutions35/63 of the 5th December 1980.

Dr. Joseph informed the audience that the current challenging economic conditions ensuring competitive markets and a level playing field for national and international players is extremely important to attract investment. He said that the Competition Act of Pakistan did envisage that combating private restraint in the market is not sufficient and that it is extremely important to review the effects of government regulations and actions. Therefore, in addition to the substantive enforcement provisions the Competition Law mandates the Commission to do competition advocacy.

The theme of the first session was “Unfair trade practices and loss to consumer welfare”. Khalid Mirza, former Chairman CCP, while addressing the session stated that Competition is the most significant charter, manga carta so to speak for the protection of consumers. Ms. Syma Ahmed, Assistant Professor, FC College University in her presentation talked about dark practices whereby companies use tricks to psychologically lead consumers into believing what is not in the best interest of consumers.

Saad Amanullah Khan, former CEO Gillette observed that strong institutions are like regulators, guardians like parents who need to discipline children. There should be open competition and a check on anti-competitive practices that lead to a dominant position. Dr. Shahzad Ansar, CCP Member threw light on the new initiative of CCP in the areas dealing with the Office of Fair Trading. The second session was on the theme of “Public Restraints and its impact on Competition”. The debate focused on how regulatory barriers such as tax and duty exemptions were hampering competition. Dr Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, gave the example of the telecom sector as a success story. He noted that there was modest growth in the telecom sector in the pre-deregulation period. He said that PTA’s approach has always been to promote Competition in the telecom sector and competition in the telecom sector has increased after deregulation.

Dr. Tariq Hassan, Advocate and former Chairman SECP noted that there were two types of restraints: public sector restraints and private sector restraints. He observed that the Competition Act, 2010 focuses only on private sector restraints. Trade barriers, regulatory barriers, state-owned or state-sanctioned monopolies all represent public barriers to trade and commerce.

Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the WTO said that some industries have strong lobby power so they lobby for higher tariffs which reduce competition. Mueen Batlay, Member CCP, said that CCP wants to ensure the audience that all restraints, private or public, which hurt competition have our attention. CCP has vast powers, and it is up to it to develop a competition policy and to ensure that the government policy is in line with competition policy.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://nation.com.pk/

Govt-PTI talks — so near yet so far
Dawn, December 06, 2014

The chief negotiators from the government and the protesting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) hoped on Friday that both sides would soon meet on the negotiating table, but were sceptical about the outcome of such an exercise.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who led the government side before talks with the PTI were stalled following violence against protesters on Constitution Avenue on Aug 30, said, “The prime minister will return to the country on Sunday morning and talks can restart from Sunday evening.”

The PM’s right-hand man also signalled that the party should not expect too much from this round of talks. He also called upon Imran Khan to fully empower his team before sending them in for negotiations so that meaningful dialogue could be held between the two sides.

Dar calls upon Imran to empower negotiators; jirga hopes dialogue will begin next week

But PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he saw a lack of clarity and divisions in the government’s response.

“I see a clear division within the government ranks over the issue of talks. There are some in the ruling party who genuinely believe talks are the only way forwards, but there is also a hawkish element which argues ‘Ignore them (PTI leadership) and the movement will fizzle out’,” Mr Qureshi told reporters at the National Press Club.

Meanwhile, the opposition jirga trying to mediate between the two sides expressed hope that talks would restart some time next week. Senator Rehman Malik told Dawn that Mr Khan was ready to talk and that “Dialogue would begin by Dec 7 or Dec 8”.

Govt posturing

Speaking at a seminar held to mark World Competition Day, Mr Dar said that the government was hopeful of resolving the ongoing political standoff. “The talks would remain within the rules and ambit of law,” he said, adding, “We want to end the crisis through talks as this dharna and jalsa culture has had a serious impact on the national economy”.

Mr Dar said if the government had set up the special judicial commission through a presidential ordinance, there were chances courts might have “struck it down”.

But lately, government ministers have repeatedly clarified that under Article 225, PTI could only pursue its petitions against rigging in various constituencies through election tribunals and the proposed judicial commission would only adjudicate on whether the PML-N was involved in rigging.

On August 13, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif invoked the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1956, when he proposed a three-member judicial commission to investigate PTI’s allegations against former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, former Punjab caretaker chief minister Najam Sethi and officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that allegedly helped PML-N emerge victorious in the last elections.

PTI apprehensions

If the government is serious about these talks, Mr Qureshi said, “We hope the next round of talks will start where we left off.”

He said that everybody knew that the condition of the PM’s resignation was a major stumbling block, but that had been removed now.

During their nearly 20 meetings, the PTI leadership claims the government was willing to give the new judicial commission special powers, but was now backing off on this front.

Mr Qureshi blamed an incumbent minister and others, who were hopeful of joining the federal government, as being against the talks, adding that PTI had yet to receive a formal message for the resumption of dialogue.

Jirga mediation

Stressing that he was hopeful about the future of talks between both sides, Senator Rehman Malik told Dawn, “We believe that both sides will resume dialogue after the return of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”

Mr Malik hailed Mr Dar’s statement and said that the minister had expressed a willingness to resolve the issue through negotiations.

He said that when Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq met Mr Khan at his residence in Bani Gala on Wednesday, the latter was willing to resume the halted dialogue process, and now the government had reciprocated positively.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.dawn.com/

Contracts in Africa are shrouded in corruption
Ghana Web News, December 05, 2014

70% of public sector contracts said to be shrouded in corruption globally
Ghana Business News, December 06, 2014

It is estimated that 70 per cent of contracts in the public sector are shrouded in corruption, which inevitably leads to a rise in 20 to 30 per cent of the total contract sum. Globally, about $ 400 billion changes hands per annum through corruption in public procurement around the world.

Mr Appiah Adomako, Executive Director, CUTS Ghana, an NGO, made this known during the celebration of the World Competition Day, which is aimed at raising awareness about competition in awarding of contract.

He noted that competition is a fundamental tenet of well-functioning markets, which encourage companies to provide consumers with the products and services that they want. “It results in lowering prices for goods and services, better service quality, wider choices for consumers, stimulation of innovation and more importantly efficiency in allocation of resources,” he added.

He called for proper attention to be given to public procurement as it is the objective of every Government to get value for money at a very competitive rate from a wide supply base while promoting domestic capacity and innovation amongst sellers.

He called on Public Procurement Authority, not to allow public officials to bend the procurement rules during public procurement. “Competition policy and law is the wave for the future in ensuring that tax payers get value for money for goods and services,” he added.

Mr Adomako mentioned Malawi, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Mali among others as some of the countries in Africa which had put in place a competition law and agency to implement the act.

“As we celebrate the World Competition Day, we will appeal to the Government… to make the passage of the Competition Policy and Law a legislative agenda for 2015,” he added. Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Baah, Board Chairman, CUTS Ghana, bemoan the lack of Competition Policy and an authority to regulate competitions in the country.

He cited collusion between suppliers, prices fixing, cartels, abusive monopoly, as some of the negative effects of lack of policy on competition in a country.

This news item can also be viewed at:
http://www.ghanaweb.com/
https://www.ghanabusinessnews.com/

Senator Ishaq Dar Applauds CCP’s Role in Creating a Pro-Competition Environment
Islamabad, December 05, 2014

ISLAMABAD, 05 DECEMBER 2014: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) organized a seminar to celebrate the World Competition Day in Marriott Hotel Islamabad today, which was attended in large number by the government officials, regulatory organizations, representatives of business community, trade associations, legal community, academia and media.

Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Ishaq Dar was the Chief Guest in the seminar. H.E. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador of EU Delegation to Pakistan attended the opening session of the seminar.

Addressing the seminar, Senator Ishaq Dar said that competition results in lower prices and more choices for consumers, it fosters innovation, promotes entrepreneurship and helps prepare domestic firms for international competition. He added that he was impressed by the progress the CCP has made in creating a pro-competition environment in the country.

“Competition also sends a positive signal to foreign investors. When foreign investors observe that the government is serious in implementing the competition regime i.e. it will not be providing domestic entities with preferential treatment over others they will be confident in investing in Pakistan, the Minister said adding that the CCP had the support of the Government in the discharge of its statutory obligations. He also congratulated the CCP for organizing the seminar.

Earlier while addressing the seminar H.E. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador of EU Delegation to Pakistan stated that Pakistan has a competition agency that it can be proud of. He said that for the Competition law to be effectively enforced it requires a strong Competition Commission. He was of the view that Pakistan should get rid of discriminatory SROs. He said that under the CCP had an able leadership which was working towards tackling distortions in the market.

Dr. Joseph Wilson, Chairman, CCP while addressing the audience stated the purpose of the seminar was to create awareness of competition law and enforcement issues. He stated that the promulgation of competition law in Pakistan, among other reasons, is the fulfillment of UN Resolutionm35/63 of the 5th December 1980.

Dr. Joseph informed the audience that the current challenging economic conditions ensuring competitive markets and a level playing field for national and international players is extremely important to attract investment. He said that the Competition Act of Pakistan did envisage that combating private restraint in the market is not sufficient and that it is extremely important to review the effects of government regulations and actions. Therefore, in addition to the substantive enforcement provisions the Competition Law mandates the Commission to do competition advocacy.

The theme of the first session was “Unfair trade practices and loss to consumer welfare”. Khalid Mirza, former Chairman CCP, while addressing the session stated that Competition is the most significant charter, manga carta so to speak for the protection of consumers. Ms. Syma Ahmed, Assistant Professor, FC College University in her presentation talked about dark practices whereby companies use tricks to psychologically lead consumers into believing what is not in the best interest of consumers.

Saad Amanullah Khan, former CEO Gillette observed that Strong institutions are like regulators, guardians like parents who need to discipline children. There should be open competition and a check on anti-competitive practices that lead to a dominant position. Dr. Shahzad Ansar, CCP Member threw light on the new initiative of CCP in the areas dealing with the Office of Fair Trading.

The second session was on the theme of “Public Restraints and its impact on Competition”. The debate focused on how regulatory barriers such as tax and duty exemptions were hampering competition. Dr Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, gave the example of the telecom sector as a success story. He noted that there was modest growth in the telecom sector in the pre-deregulation period. He said that PTA’s approach has always been to promote Competition in the telecom sector and competition in the telecom sector has increased after deregulation.

Dr. Tariq Hassan, Advocate and former Chairman SECP noted that there were two types of restraints: public sector restraints and private sector restraints. He observed that the Competition Act, 2010 focuses only on private sector restraints. Trade barriers, regulatory barriers, state-owned or state-sanctioned monopolies all represent public barriers to trade and commerce.

Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the WTO said that some industries have strong lobby power so they lobby for higher tariffs which reduces competition.

Mr. Mueen Batlay, Member CCP, said that CCP wants to ensure the audience that all restraints, private or public, which hurt competition have our attention. CCP has vast powers, and it is up to it to develop a competition policy and to ensure that the government policy is in line with competition policy.

Senator Ishaq Dar distributed shields to the speakers of the seminar.

Joint Statement from GCCPC and GPPA on World Competition Day
The Gambia, December 5, 2014

World Competition Day is observed on December 5th by many competition agencies around the world. The day is an opportunity to highlight the benefits of competition to the economy and thereby to society. The occasion comes in response to the campaign spearheaded by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) for an adoption of World Competition Day to strengthen the focus on Competition Policy and Law at the international level.

The Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s mandate is to enforce the Competition Act 2007 in order to promote and maintain competition in the country. This year, the Commission is partnering with The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), which is responsible for the regulation and monitoring of public procurement in The Gambia, and the performance of procuring organizations to ascertain efficiency and compliance with applicable legislation, regulations and instructions.

This year’s celebration theme, ‘Competition Issues in Public Procurement’ calls on competition agencies to create awareness among relevant stakeholders regarding competition issues in the procurement process and the dire need to support the competition authorities to meet the objective of public procurement.

Efficient procurement is to buy the best possible goods and services at the lowest prices. Significant public spending takes place through the public procurement system and a well-functioning procurement system ensures that money is used effectively for achieving efficiency in acquiring inputs for, and value for money, in delivery of programs and services by the government. Indeed, up to 70 percent of a government’s budget is spent through a public procurement process.

Effective public procurement is therefore necessary in order to avoid mismanagement and waste of public funds. Public procurement policies are bound to affect the structure of the market, and the behavior of the firms in it. These policies can determine the longer term effects on competition in an economic sector.

The presence of national competition authorities is a global phenomenon that underscores the importance of competition to society. Bid rigging, collusion and other forms of anti-competitive conduct all militate against market efficiency, and rob society of the benefits of competition. There is wide agreement that effective institutions and systems of public financial management have a critical role to play in supporting implementation of policies of national development and poverty reduction. In this regard, GPPA also fosters competition by ensuring that the public procurement system operates in a transparent, efficient and economic manner, ensuring a fair opportunity to all prospective suppliers by preventing fraud, corruption and other malpractices in public procurement.

Public procurement is at the interface of the public and private sectors, which requires close cooperation between the two parties to achieve value for money. It also requires a sound stewardship of public funds to reduce the risk of corrupt practices. Public procurement is also increasingly considered a core element of accountability to the public on the way public funds are managed. Public financial management and public procurement are intertwined.

The formulation of rules, designing of bidding models, designing and execution of tenders and other public procurement policies have to run in tandem with a strict enforcement of competition laws, as well as with the relevant training of public procurement officials at all levels of government.

This collaboration between GCCPC and GPPA in celebrating World Competition Day is a manifestation that the work of public procurement agencies and competition agencies are intrinsically linked, and they must, therefore, work hand in glove for best results with respect to the economy and society.

ANTIMONOPOLY OFFICE of the Slovak Republic
December 5, 2014

The international competition community observes 5th December as the World Competition Day and through various activities seeks to bring consumers benefits of well-functioning competition environment. This year is dedicated to „Competition issues in public procurement“.

Public procurement is the purchase of goods or services by the public sector and generally accounts for large share of public expenditures. Competition concerns occurring in the public procurement process are mainly related to collusive behaviour of bidders, so called „bid rigging“. Cooperation may take a form of an agreement on price fixing, sharing contracts or other form of coordination, including an agreement on non-submitting a bid or an agreement on rotation of contracts. The absence of well-functioning competition thus prevents from effective use of public resources and negatively affects an economy.

Detection of cartels in public procurements belongs currently to the priorities of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic. Since they represent horizontal agreements between direct competitors, which are considered as hard-core cartels, pursuant to the Act on Protection of Competition a cartel participant may be fined up to 10 % of its turnover for the proceeding closed accounting period. In the last year the Antimonopoly Office has fined several companies in the sectors of information technology, construction, education and geodesy and cartography for such anti-competitive conduct. The Antimonopoly Office will continue in cartel detection and will allocate here its capacities.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.antimon.gov.sk/

Office for Competition and Consumer Protection, Poland
December 5, 2014

Za sześć tygodni wchodzi w życie nowelizacja prawa antymonopolowego. Wzmocniony zostanie polski system walki ze zmowami przedsiębiorców i nadużywaniem pozycji dominującej, a także usprawnione zostaną procedury kontroli koncentracji. Dziś, w Światowy Dzień Ochrony Konkurencji, UOKiK przypomina o najważniejszych zmianach w przepisach

Światowy Dzień Konkurencji organizowany jest 5 grudnia (od 2010 roku) przez pozarządową organizację Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) oraz Konferencję Narodów Zjednoczonych ds. Handlu i Rozwoju (UNCTAD).

Polskie prawo antymonopolowe istnieje od 1990. Od tego czasu przeszło szereg zmian. Najnowsze wejdą w życie 18 stycznia 2015 r, wraz z nowelizacją ustawy o ochronie konkurencji i konsumentów. Jej celem jest skuteczniejsze wykrywanie praktyk ograniczających konkurencję, a tym samym zwiększenie ochrony konsumentów.

Ważną zmianą będzie wprowadzenie możliwości nałożenia kary finansowej na osoby zarządzające przedsiębiorstwem za umyślny udział w porozumieniu ograniczającym konkurencję. Maksymalnie będzie mogła wynieść równowartość dwóch milionów zł. Ustawa zawiera zamknięty katalog naruszeń prawa, tak aby wiadomo było, jakie praktyki zagrożone są karą finansową. Wprowadzenie osobistej odpowiedzialności ma za zadanie zniechęcić menedżerów i prezesów do zawierania nielegalnych porozumień. Może być również bodźcem do wprowadzenia systemów compliance, czyli przyjmowania i stosowania kodeksów, zasad i procedur jakimi powinni kierować się pracownicy i zarządzający, tak aby przestrzegać prawa. Skuteczny compliance powinien pełnić dwie funkcje. Po pierwsze zapobiegać łamaniu prawa antymonopolowego, a po drugie zminimalizować negatywne skutki dla spółki i menedżerów – jeżeli mimo wszystko dojdzie do złamania przepisów.

Zmiany dotyczyły będą również programu łagodzenia kar leniency. Wprowadzone rozwiązanie, tzw. leniency plus umożliwi przedsiębiorcy, który złoży wniosek jako drugi lub kolejny, uzyskanie dodatkowego obniżenia kary o 30 proc., jeśli poinformuje Urząd o innej zmowie, której również był uczestnikiem. W tej drugiej sprawie będzie miał status pierwszego wnioskodawcy i uniknie w niej kary finansowej.

Nowym narzędziem UOKiK będą środki zaradcze (ang. remedies). W decyzji kończącej postępowanie UOKiK będzie miał możliwość wskazania przedsiębiorcy, jakie działania ma podjąć w celu usunięcia skutków naruszenia lub zaprzestania niedozwolonej praktyki. W pierwszej kolejności będą to mogły być tzw. środki behawioralne, np. udzielenie licencji własności intelektualnej na niedyskryminujących warunkach, czy zmiana umowy. Jeżeli okażą się one nieskuteczne lub będą mniej korzystne dla przedsiębiorcy, Urząd będzie miał możliwość zastosowania tzw. środków strukturalnych. Jednym z nich może być nakaz rozdzielenia prowadzenia przez przedsiębiorcę działalności na szczeblu detalicznym od hurtowej, w celu zapewnienia innym detalistom jednolitych warunków na danym rynku.

Ponadto w skuteczniejszej walce z niedozwolonymi porozumieniami pomóc może wydłużenie okresu przedawnienia praktyk ograniczających konkurencję z roku do pięciu lat. Pozwoli to na wykrycie większej ilości zmów szkodliwych dla gospodarki oraz konsumentów. Może również działać prewencyjnie – zniechęcać do niedozwolonych działań.

Usprawniona zostanie również kontrola koncentracji. Wprowadzona zostanie dwuetapowa procedura analizowania wniosków w sprawie fuzji i przejęć – proste koncentracje rozpatrywane będą w ciągu miesiąca, natomiast bardziej złożone przez dodatkowe cztery miesiące. Ponadto przedsiębiorca jeszcze w toku trwającego postępowania z zakresu kontroli koncentracji pozna przewidywany kierunek rozstrzygnięcia, w tym zastrzeżenia Urzędu. Będzie mógł odnieść się do nich, a nawet zmodyfikować zakres fuzji lub przejęcia, tak aby uniknąć decyzji zakazującej transakcji.

Wszystkie zmiany, które wprowadza nowelizacja można znaleźć w załączniku pod komunikatem prasowym.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.uokik.gov.pl/

Office for the Protection of Competition, Czech Republic
December 5, 2014

The Office for the Protection of Competition (hereinafter referred to as “the Office”) joins to the initiative World Competition Day of the international platform for competition and consumer protection CUTS International. The event should inform the general public and raise the awareness about the significance of competition for efficient market economy and for the welfare of consumers.

This year World Competition Day has been dedicated to competition issues within public procurement. Restriction of competition has negative impacts in particular on transactions related to public spending. By their effects cartel agreements among bidders (so called bid rigging) exclude any competition for the public procurement and that results in the increase of the procurement price by up to 20 %. Besides the price negotiations among bidders, market sharing on geographic basis or according to customers constitutes a common conduct, too.

The Office for the Protection of Competition has considered the fight against bid rigging agreements to be its top priority. In this area the Office can benefit from the fact that it has been empowered also with the competence of public procurement award procedures supervision. In the year 2014 the Office already issued five decisions concerning bid rigging agreements. The recent one dealt with cartel agreements among bidders within public procurement for supply of communal technology. Sanctions of over CZK 5 million (approximately EUR 0.18 million) have been imposed. The highest fine for bid rigging was imposed in the year 2012 and reached CZK 96 million (approximately EUR 3.5 million). The decision concerned the sector of waste management.

During past years the Office has organized a dynamic campaign aimed to increase the awareness of contracting authorities. Within this initiative the Office held several trainings for the representatives of contracting authorities focused on detection of bid rigging and how to notify it to the Office. The manner of setting the awarding criteria with the aim to eliminate the possible collusion was also discussed. Methodical documents and guidelines are available on the website of the Office (only the Czech version available).

Fair Competition Commission, Tanzania
December 5, 2014

Research has established that about 15 to 30 percent of GDP and above 50 percent of the national budgets of countries are spent on Public Procurement activities. Recently, the Deputy Minister for Finance Hon. Adam Malima has revealed that Tanzania spends about 70 percent of the budget on public procurement.

Public Procurement to such key issues as road construction contractors, hospital and school service providers, essential drugs such as anti-malaria drugs, Anti-Retroviral Drugs for HIV/AIDS victims, development of tertiary institutions as well as facilities for research and development activities, defense and others account for substantial part of the economy.

Since, Public Procurement is an essential government activity that affects a country’s economy and the absence of effective competition in it, the public buyer will hardly obtain value for money, regardless of how well designed and applied procurement rules are. The importance of a competitive tendering (procurement) system can not be overemphasized, it includes: driving the price down to marginal cost; minimizing costs for firms and government; driving innovations as firms learn from one another and strive to continuously improve their products.

To that end, Tanzania had revised and put in place new Public Procurement Law, the Public Procurement Act 2011, the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), relevant rules and regulations as well as the policy guidelines with a view to ensuring that public procurement yields value to public resources spent on the same.

As we cherish the Government’s zeal for ensuring cost-effective public procurement, today Tanzania join hands with the international competition community to observe the fifth World Competition Day, which is commemorated every 5th of December. The 2014 Theme for “World Competition Day” is “Promoting Fair Competition in Public Procurement”. The theme calls for reflecting on the measures to protect both suppliers and procurers of goods and services from the encumbrances incurred while the process of procurement is going on. The Theme also calls for sharpening such measures to curtail such encumberances to the extent possible.

Competition concerns arising from Public procurement is largely the same as in any ordinary market such as collusive agreements between bidders, abuse of dominance, and creation of barriers to entry.

It is against this backdrop, the relevance of effective competition in procurement environment can hardly be overlooked as efficient markets require promotion of effective competition among suppliers and also, includes preventing collusion among potential bidders as well.

The 5th of December 1980, saw the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (UN Set), being adopted by the UN General Assembly at its thirty‐fifth meeting on 5th December, 1980. It is therefore important that the 5th of December be commemorated each year as a World Competition Day with the object to reach out to the common man.

The Tanzania’s Fair Competition Commission (FCC) is proud to join hands with these countries and agencies and calls for the procuring public entities, suppliers, relevant regulatory bodies as well as the general public to ensure that “Public Procurement” activities yield cost effective services and reflect commensurate value for money. This year FCC jointly with the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) are joining hands to come up with a strategy to fight bid rigging in the economy.

Let’s observe 2014 World Competition Day 2014 with zeal to shut-out anti-competitive conducts and promote fair competition in public procurement, henceforth.

Department of Justice, Philippines
December 5, 2014

December 5, 2014 marks yet another milestone in the country’s economic landscape. As we commemorate National Competition Day, we join the rest of the world in observing World Competition Day with the aim of raising awareness about the benefits of free and fair competition and the role of competition policy and law (CPL) in promoting consumer protection and attaining economic justice.

The Department of Justice, through our Office for Competition (OFC), guided by the principles of fairness, accountability and transparency, seeks to advance economic justice through an effective competition regime across all sectors of the Philippine economy. We envision a country where consumers are given better choices or alternatives at lower cost while businesses, big or small, are allowed to thrive, thus, propel economic growth and development.

We have thus focused our programs and initiatives on introducing reforms in sectors that impact consumer welfare the most – energy, telecommunications, transport, and commodity. This year, we investigated the alleged collusion in the garlic industry which resulted in unwarranted price increases. We also pushed for the liberalization of our harbor pilots industry to increase ports’ competitiveness by lowering the cost of transporting goods. We will continue to investigate and prosecute offenders and advocate for reforms in order to achieve effective competition in our markets.

Through CPL enforcement, we can put an end to the anticompetitive practices of greedy businesses. Competition in markets is supposed to be free and fair. Hence, the theme “Advancing Economic Justice through Competition Policy and Law (CPL)” for this year’s NCD celebration is fitting.

Notably, the country’s ranking in the 2014-2015 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum has leaped to the 52nd spot out of 144 economies, compared to the 59th spot out of 148 last year. According to WEF, the country’s gain of 33 places from 2010 is the largest over that period among all countries. Indeed, economic reforms are making headways.

The international community has also recognized our initiatives in promoting competition in view of our strong and widespread advocacy efforts, one of which is the previous 4th ASEAN Competition Conference (ACC) hosted by the DOJ-OFC and attended by global competition experts as well as international partners.

As we continue to promote a culture of competition and level the market playing field, we commit to renewing our collaborative efforts with the stakeholders. In the years ahead, the DOJ-OFC will remain steadfast in its mandate to investigate all cases involving violations of competition laws, prosecute offenders and enforce competition policies and laws to protect consumers.

We invite everyone to join us in the week-long activities we have planned for the NCD celebration which includes the conduct of the first ever National Competition Conference (NCC) at the Philippine International Convention Center, which will serve as a platform for discussion of the most relevant competition issues facing the country and the world.

Let us all work together in advancing economic justice for all.

World Competition Day
December 5, 2014, Lusaka, Zambia

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) says, the World Competition Day is the day when we all should join hands with policy makers, government and the media in coming up with a common ground on how to deal with the competition issues in Public Procurement processes.
And Yusuf Dodia, Board Member, Consumer Unity and Trust Society- CUTS International Lusaka said, Competition is a fundamental tenet of a well-functioning economy and encourages companies to provide consumers with the products and services that they want at lower prices, ensure better quality of service and stimulates innovation and also coerces businesses to be efficient.

They were speaking during the commemoration of this year’s World Competition Day on 5th December 2014 under the theme “Competition Issues in Public Procurement”. Mr. Kelvin Fuba Bwalya, Board Chairperson of CCPC in his speech mentioned that promotion of competition is not aimed at hindering business growth but at creating a conducive market environment for all players in the economy. He said that public procurement is an important aspect of government expenditure that enables the government to purchase goods and services for enhancing its service delivery to the general public.

“Among the most serious breaches of competition law are cartels involving price fixing, collusive tendering and market sharing. The process of public procurement in small economies like Zambia is also not immune to the pernicious effects of cartels and other anti-competitive practices” he added. He further said, it is important that the procurement process is not distorted by such practices as they cause adverse economic implications such as loss of efficiency and diversion of money away from developmental programmes. Lack of transparency and discrimination in tenders makes it difficult to implement procurement policies. He therefore provoked and challenged the media to break the boundaries that cause limitations in addressing these issues and encouraged institutions such as the National Prosecution Authority and investigators to get to the root of these issues.

Meanwhile, Mr Yusuf Dodia said that this year’s theme was timely as public procurement processes have a direct bearing on social gains for both producers and consumers. It is becoming common ground that public procurement holds a complex relationship with market competition and that consequently, a tighter link between public procurement and competition law enforcement needs to be established, he said. Dodia added that Zambia has not been an exception to this complex issue. In recent years recurring reports have been noted pointing to the fact that some public procurement has been marred with underhand and corrupt processes. The Auditor general reports, year in year out, have pointed to the fact that a number of process go without competitive tendering processes despite this being permitted in Zambia Public Procurement Authority Act. This is an area which has become a fertile ground for abuse and tightening monitoring and surveillance for tenders that hardly require bidding processes is required, he explained.

He said, CUTS believes that curtailing these activities would play a key role in creating an enabling environment that guarantees free contestable markets, transparent procurement processes and poverty reduction. We are therefore happy that, in Zambia efforts have ensued between CCPC and ZPPA. Such efforts ought to be nurtured further, perhaps through, a better policy and legislative link. In view of this, he said CUTS is in the ring and we will compliment as much as we can in our small way, stressing that Competition Policy and Law are tools which can prevent or deter collusion in public procurement resulting in generating relevant savings for the government that could be used to boost its expenditure portfolio.

Naomi Fulaza, Chief Investigator, Cartels and Restrictive Business Practices- CCPC, in her presentation stated that the government spends a lot of money in the procurement of goods and services every year. Fulaza said that practices such as bid rigging and market allocation are detrimental to the economy as resources are not efficiently utilised because the government usually pays too much for goods and services and they diminish public confidence in the competitive process undermining the benefits of a competitive market place.

On the other hand, Mrs Phiri, a representative from the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) stated that in trying to address this issue, we must understand that this is an interconnected issue that the CCPC cannot handle alone. With procurement issues comes in issues of corruption and money laundering therefore institutions need to work together and play their respective roles. She added that competition law in Zambia is not yet well developed and very few cases go to the courts of law, therefore there is need to also bring the judiciary on board. While giving closing remarks, Ms Luyamba Mpamba, Director Mergers and Monopolies at CCPC emphasised on the need to strengthen cooperation among agencies and stakeholders if such abuses are to be addressed. Mpamba, thanked CCPC Board Chair and CUTS Board member, the National Prosecution Authority and the Media for taking time to come and commemorate this day.

Public Procurement under Spotlight in Geneva on World Competition Day
December 5, 2014, Geneva, Switzerland

“Today couldn’t be a better day to celebrate the World Competition Day”, said Philippe Brusick, Former Head of the Competition and Consumer Protection Policies Branch at UNCTAD, today in Geneva while speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by CUTS International in celebration of the World Competition Day.

“Indeed, on 5th of December 1980 the United Nations adopted the UN Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices which paved the way for enormous progress on consumer welfare through competition policy”, he added.

This year’s theme being “Competition Issues in Public Procurement”, the event explored how integrating principles of fair competition in public procurement could help in more efficient utilisation of government revenues. Efficient procurement means to procure best possible goods and services at the lowest prices. Thus, vigorous competition amongst suppliers helps this objective. Conversely, when competition is curtailed, more than fair price is paid for lower quality and Government money is wasted. It is, therefore, important that the procurement process is not distorted by practices such as collusion, bid rigging, lack of competitive neutrality, abuse of dominance, etc. Such anti-competitive activities cause adverse economic implications such as loss of efficiency and diversion of money away from development programmes.

“The most obvious and well-known tool against cartels include competition law enforcement, reinforced by tools such as leniency measures for cartel breakers”, said Robert Anderson, Counsellor for Government Procurement and Competition Policy at the WTO Secretariat. Other powerful tools were also mentioned such as educating procurement officials on suspicious signs, inter-agency cooperation and trade liberalization.

“Expanding the pool of potential competitors through trade liberalization will enhance competition and result in less collusion and lower prices”, he added. In fact, public procurement is an area where international trade rules, national competition policies and procurement officials have a strong complementarity of roles and interests. The WTO Government Procurement Agreement was itself seen as a competition enabler since it ensures non-discriminatory conditions for competition in certain types of procurements. While most of its 43 members are developed countries, it also includes developing countries. However, no African country is party to the agreement.

Since 2010, a policy-based think tank CUTS has been advocating for the celebration of the 5th of December as the World Competition Day. In 2012, UNCTAD also joined CUTS in the promotion of the World Competition Day which since then has swiftly gained popularity amongst Competition Authorities worldwide. Currently, 24 countries worldwide including the United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Austria, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Spain, Gambia, etc. have supported the call to have December 5 declared as World Competition Day by the UN General Assembly.

For more information, please contact: Julien Grollier, jg@cuts.org, +41 (0) 22 734 60 80

EU envoy for improving competition environment in Pakistan
AAJ News, December 05, 2014

Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark Friday said that the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) should further open up competition environment for making Pakistan economically strong country. “The EU would be encouraged to enhance trade with Pakistan if there is strong competition environment in the country”, Mr Wigemark said while addressing a Conference organized by the CCP to mark World Competition Day here.

He said the CCP should ensure enforcement of competition laws regardless of any political and commercial influence only for the welfare of the consumers. He said in EU, the competition environment was very strict and all companies are strictly scrutinized by the EU. He said Pakistan had great economic potential however its economic growth was not fast according to its potential.

While praising the Pakistan’s government’s business friendly policies, he said it was committed to promote economic reforms agenda in the country. He also stressed the need for enhancing trade with all regional countries including Afghanistan and specially with India. “Irrespective of the tensions going on at the borders, people of both Pakistan and India should develop people to people and business to business contact for promoting trade culture between the two countries”, he added.

He said last year the EU provided preferential access to its markets to 10 countries including Pakistan and since then the country’s exports to the EU jumped by 20 percent to Euros 700 million. He advised the CCP to strengthen its working which should not only benefit the consumers and the country but also the region and the entire world including the EU. He said the CCP was tackling many of the distortions prevailing in Pakistan’s economy and was trying to get rid of cartels in the country.

Earlier, the CCP chairman Joseph Wilson said in his welcome address that the CCP aimed at to contribute towards improve the investment climate of the country by removing entry barriers and eliminating other anti-competitive behavior that could deter investor, particularly foreign investors from investing in the markets.

He said the CCP would continue the process of revising its regulations and processes, enhancing the strengthen and technical expertise of the enforcement staff, advocacy efforts with the public and private sector and working towards embedding a culture of competition in the country.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.aaj.tv/

Government ready to resume dialogue with PTI: Dar
Business Recorder, December 05, 2014

Minister for Finance, Muhammad Ishaq Dar here on Friday said that government was ready to resume dialogue with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to settle all political issues. Talking to media after addressing the concluding session of a conference organized by the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on World Competition Day, he said that PTI had suspended dialogue with the government and now they are ready to restart it. “The government welcomes PTI’s decision for restarting dialogue and is ready to negotiate with PTI within the legal and constitutional ambit which is vital for successful talks”, he added.

Ishaq Dar said, on the demand of PTI, the government has taken several steps including legal and constitutional amendments adding that about five laws regarding electoral process in the country has been reviewed.

Now it is responsibility of PTI to reciprocate the government’s positive indication and postpone its scheduled protest demonstrations that could harm the national economy, he added. He said the government would soon start dialogue with PTI and all other political forces of the country would also be taken into confidence while starting negotiations.

He said that appointment of Chief Election Commissioner has reached its rational end that had been pending for the last 16 months as the government and opposition parties had sent unanimous nominations for CEC. Addressing the conference, the minister said that government was determined to promote competitive behavior in local economy to provide level playing field for every sector to develop. Promulgation and enforcement of competitive laws are vital to meet international challenges and to enhance trade with rest of the world, he added.

The minister said to promote competitive culture in the country, the government has decided to phase out the SRO regime and by abolishing the discriminatory SROs within the next three years. He appreciated the CCP for taking steps to stop cartels and anti-competitive behavior for providing level playing field to local industry as well as to protect consumers rights. Ishaq Dar said that despite significant decrease in prices of petroleum products, their effect has not been scene in the prices of daily use items adding that CCCP must evolve a mechanism to protect consumers rights.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.brecorder.com/

World Competition Day 5th of December 2014
Fair Trade Competition, December 05 2014

As Competition Authorities around the globe draw to the close of yet another formidable year, this 2014, many if not all are engaged in the preparations for the celebration of the World Competition Day, celebrated on the 5th of December every year.

It was during the year 2010 that CUTS introduced this concept and simultaneously launched a campaign advocating for the celebration of the 5th of December as the World Competition Day. The date itself was designated as such on the basis that it echoed the sound of a Competition culture which was in agreement with the commitment taken by the UN General Conference on Restrictive Business Practices on that same date. The commitment entailed the approval and adoption of a UN Set, termed as the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (UN Set).

Further down the line, precisely the year 2012, UNCTAD fused its allegiance with CUTS in promotion of the World Competition Day which since then has swiftly gained colossal popularity amongst Competition Authorities worldwide.

As fervently advocated by CUTS, UNCTAD and the rapidly increasing number of Competition Jurisdictions across the world, the establishment and commemoration of such a day on the national level will undoubtedly impact the world’s Competitive current in a positive way. The latter is anticipated to translate into the day becoming an internationally recognised day for Competition Advocacy.

The Fair Trading Commission which has the mandate to administer the Fair Competition Act has not remained isolated and insensitive to such a significant campaign. Consequently, for two years consecutively, 2012 and 2013, the Commission has celebrated the day through publication of an article in the local newspaper entitled “World Competition Day: Impacts of Cartel on the Poor”. Conversely, on the 5th of December 2013, the Fair Trading Commission organised an advocacy workshop in conjunction with the SCCI to commemorate the World Competition Day. The Workshop saw the participation of several businesses in the business community within various key sectors of the economy and the distribution of leaflets around Victoria.

This year the World Competition Day could not have coincided in a more fitting manner than with the celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Commission which has been scheduled to be celebrated on the 5th of December 2014. The Anniversary of the Commission coupled with the Competition Day has thus created the perfect platform for the Commission to be graced with the presence of one of the most distinguished expert in the Competition Law Arena. Professor Richard Whish, a lecturer at the Kings’ College with innumerable years of experience in the field of Competition Law has been entrusted with the mission of delivering a lecture on the “application of competition policy in small island states” for this special occasion.

The World Competition Day for the year 2014 has seen the Fair Trading Commission go to great lengths that will undoubtedly not only be remembered because of the significance to its anniversary but concurrently because of the emphasis given to Competition Law and its regulation in the country.

This news item can also be viewed at: http://www.ftc.sc/

Competition issues in public procurements
Daily Graphic, December 03, 2014
Ghana Web News, December 06, 2014

By Appiah Kusi Adomako

Competition is a fundamental tenet of well-functioning markets and encourages companies to provide consumers with the products and services that they want. It results in lowering prices for goods and services, better service quality, wider choices for consumers, stimulation of innovation and more importantly, efficiency in allocation of resources.

Competition cannot be achieved automatically and needs to be nurtured – by the introduction and propagation of a competition regime. A functional competition regime consists of a national competition policy and a competition law.

The objective of a functional competition regime is to promote competition, and contribute towards increased efficiency and curb anti-competitive practices in the market. Anti-competitive practices, including cartels, abusive monopolies, predatory pricing, collusive tendering, exclusive market sharing agreements, bid rigging etc., have negative effects on both consumers and producers.

Public Procurements

Governments in most countries are the largest spenders. Government spending comes largely through procurement and other forms of recurrent expenditure. In securing goods, the fundamental objective for any government is to get value for money at a very competitive rate from a wide supply base while promoting domestic capacity and innovation among sellers. The benefits derived from public procurement are, however, not realised by most governments worldwide, due to the plethora of anti-competitive practices in public procurement and the lack of effective institutions to monitor public funds used in making purchases of goods and services.

The purpose of the Public Procurement Act 663, among others, is to harmonise the processes of public procurement in the public service and to secure a judicious, economic and efficient use of state resources in public procurement and ensure that public procurement is carried out in a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory manner.

Through competitive tendering process, the buyer is able to make an intelligent decision based on both qualitative and quantitative decision- making tools. More than a decade down the line since the Act was passed, some public entities are still able to bypass the law without recourse to the due process.

In recent times, a lot of state procurements have gone on without competitive tendering process. There are times when it has been alleged that a contract was awarded before the tender was opened, making mockery of due of justice.

A study commissioned by the OECD in 2003 on the benefits of transparent and competitive procurement processes found out that a saving of 47 per cent was made in the procurement of certain military goods in Columbia through the improvement of transparency and procurement procedures. In Guatamala, 43 per cent savings in the cost of purchasing medicines was made due to the introduction of more transparent and competitive procurement procedures and the elimination of any tender specifications that favour a particular tender.

Anti-competitive Issues in Public Procurement

There are legions of anti-competitive practices in public procurement, ranging from collusive tendering to bid suppression. In bid suppression schemes, one or more competitors who otherwise would be expected to bid, or who have previously bid, agree to refrain from bidding or withdraw a previously submitted bid so that the designated winning competitor’s bid will be accepted.

Complementary bidding (also known as ‘‘cover’’ or ‘‘courtesy’’ bidding) occurs when some competitors agree to submit bids that either are too high to be accepted or contain special terms that will not be acceptable to the buyer. On the other hand, in bid rotation schemes, all conspirators submit bids but take turns being the low bidder. The terms of the rotation may vary; for example, competitors may take turns on contracts according to the size of the contract, allocating equal amounts to each conspirator or allocating volumes that correspond to the size of each conspirator company.

Economic cost of anti-competitive tendering

A study commissioned by the EU found out that the total direct losses in 2010 as a result of corruption associated with contract tendering in the eight European countries and five sectors covered was between €1.4 and € 2.7 billion.

It has been estimated that about $400 billion per annum changes hands through corruption in public procurement around the world. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it is reported that corruption exists in about 70 per cent of public contracts, which inevitably lead to a rise in 20-30 per cent of contracts sums.

Coming home to Ghana, data concerning how taxpayers are being fleeced through uncompetitive tendering process is difficult to come by. However, if anecdotal tales and media stories are safe to go by, one can posit that the Government of Ghana remains largely uncompetitive when it comes to the procurement of goods and services. The flagrant abuse of sole or single sourcing has become an economic burden to taxpayers. The stories of SUBAH, SADA, GYEEDA and other government procurements are obvious testimony of this claim.

Why World Competition Day?

On December 5, 1980, the UN adopted the international standard for competition laws under what is called the UN Set on Competition Policy – hence the call by INCSOC to recognise this date as World Competition Day. Currently, 24 countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Austria, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Spain and the Gambia have supported the call to have December 5 declared as World Competition Day by the UN General Assembly.

The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘’Competition in Public Procurement.’’ CUTS International Ghana is implementing “Advocating for a Functional Competition Regime for Ghana (COMPAD)” with support from the BUSAC Fund. The main goal of this project is to complement Ghna Government ‘s efforts towards evolving a functional national competition policy and law in Ghana, through an informed process, incorporating the views of key actors and with public support.

This news item can also be viewed at:
http://graphic.com.gh/
http://www.ghanaweb.com/

Journée mondiale de la Concurrence 2014
Le Defi Quotidien, December 03, 2014

By Mosadeq

Journée mondiale de la Concurrence sera célébré ce vendredi.

Vendredi prochain, de nombreux pays répondront à l’appel de CUTS International, organisation internationale de consommateurs basée en Inde, en faveur de l’observance de la Journée Mondiale de la Concurrence. Cet appel est soutenu par la CNUCED, l’agence des Nations Unies pour le commerce et le développement économique. Le thème de cette année : « Competition Issues in Public Procurement », vise à sensibiliser les décideurs politiques et les opérateurs sur les effets néfastes des pratiques anticoncurrentielles pour le pays et pour les contribuables.

Les contribuables, premières victimes des offres truquées

Le choix du thème pour observer la Journée mondiale de la concurrence vient à point nommé pour Maurice. Ces derniers mois ont été marqués par le refus du Public Procurement Office d’entériner une recommandation du Central Electricity Board en faveur d’une firme étrangère, et la recommandation de l’Internal Control Unit du ministère des Finances en faveur d’une enquête sur les contrats alloués à la National Development Unit.

Ajoutés à cela, la pratique de ‘project splitting’ (division de projets) pour ne pas avoir à passer par le processus des appels d’offres, ou encore les ‘bid sharing’ allégués pour la provision de certains services aux hôpitaux, entre autres opérateurs publics. En choisissant ce thème, CUTS International, l’initiateur de cet appel en faveur de l’observation de la Journée mondiale de la concurrence, est d’avis que l’établissement de règlements appropriés pour le fonctionnement efficace du bureau des appels d’offres favorisera l’économie du pays en générant des demandes et la consommation.

Une agence d’appels d’offres efficace permettra aux contribuables, ceux qui finalement mettent la main à la poche, pour financer des projets publics, de bénéficier des biens et services de meilleure qualité aux prix plus avantageux. La publication par le Défi Plus d’un rapport de l’Internal Control Unit du ministère des Finances laisse entendre que certains fonctionnaires n’auraient pas fait leur travail convenablement, et ce, au détriment, non seulement des finances publiques, mais aussi celui des consommateurs-contribuables qui sont lésés par une mauvaise qualité des services pour lesquels des contrats avaient été alloués, et de la mauvaise qualité des biens offerts. La Consumer Advocacy Platform (CAP) estime qu’une concurrence vigoureuse entre les pourvoyeurs des services permet au gouvernement, par extension aux consommateurs-contribuables, de bénéficier d’une meilleure qualité des services et des biens offerts.

Il est donc important, souligne son porte-parole, que le processus d’appel d’offres ne soit pas détourné par des pratiques restrictives, tels que la collusion entre pourvoyeurs, le bid rigging, le manque de compétitivité, l’abus de la position dominante, entre autres. Il faut reconnaître que le Public Procurement Office (PPO) s’efforce d’assurer la transparence dans l’octroi de contrats suite à des appels d’offres. La récente décision du PPO de refuser l’offre d’une firme étrangère pour la fourniture de nouvelles turbines au CEB est un exemple de l’efficacité du PPO.

Il convient aussi de souligner qu’outre le Public Procurement Office, la Competition Commission (CCM) a aussi la responsabilité de traquer les pratiques anticoncurrentielles dans les appels d’offres. Pour qu’il n’y ait pas de gaspillage de ressources, la CCM et la PPO ont signé un Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) qui permet de délimiter le champ de responsabilités de chacune des agences.

Mieux comprendre la loi de la concurrence : Le trucage des offres

Il consiste en la décision des soumissionnaires de procéder à des arrangements secrets sur qui présentera l’offre le plus faible. Les autres membres de l’entente se retirent ensuite de l’appel d’offres ou font des offres truquées appelées « offres de couverture ». Ce type d’entente entre firmes est communément appelé le trucage des offres, au Canada, ou ‘offres collusives’. Le processus d’appels d’offres vise à promouvoir l’impartialité et assurer que les prix les plus faibles sont obtenus. Le trucage des offres remet en cause ce procédé concurrentiel.

Des mécanismes nombreux et variés

La suppression des enchères : un ou plusieurs concurrents acceptent de s’abstenir du processus d’appel d’offres ou de retirer une offre déjà faite pour qu’une autre firme puisse remporter le contrat. Les offres complémentaires : les firmes concurrentes décident entre elles qui est celle qui doit remporter l’offre, et par conséquent, s’accordent pour soumettre des offres truquées, artificiellement élevées. Ceci pour créer l’apparence d’une concurrence sévère. La rotation des offres : les concurrents s’arrangent pour remporter les contrats à tour de rôle, les autres soumettant des offres élevées.

C’est quoi un ‘Leniency Programme’

Le moratoire mis en place par la Commission de la concurrence en novembre 2013 a porté ses fruits. Il a permis le démantèlement, pour la première fois à Maurice, d’un cartel, celui de l’industrie de la bière. Ce fait, en lui-même, permet à la CCM d’entrer dans la cour des grands. Mais c’est quoi, un ‘Leniency Programme’ ? Selon les ‘Guidelines’ de la CCM, le Leniency Programme permet aux membres d’un cartel de venir de l’avant et de fournir à la CCM les preuves des activités liées au cartel auquel ils ont fait partie. Le premier à venir de l’avant bénéficiera d’une réduction des amendes allant jusqu’à 100 %, le second 50 % et les demandeurs qui suivront pourront bénéficier d’une réduction jusqu’à 25 %. La CCM permet aussi aux « ring leaders », les initiateurs de cartels, de profiter du Leniency Programme, allant de l’immunité à la réduction des amendes.

Amnistie et réduction sur les amendes, telles sont donc les incitations proposées aux dénonciateurs des cartels par la Competition Commission. Même ceux qui auront initié un cartel peuvent bénéficier de cette amnistie. Les Guidelines de la Commission reconnaissent qu’il faut accorder aux firmes des motivations en vue de les encourager à informer la CCM des activités du cartel auquel elles auraient participé, ceci à cause de la nature secrète des cartels.

Accord entre la PPO et la CCM

Signé en août 2011, le Memorandum of Understanding entre le Public Procurement Office (PPO) et la Competition Commission (CCM) permet d’établir les paramètres établissant la coopération et la collaboration entre les deux organismes. Ce MoU est motivé par le fait qu’il existe des possibilités de chevauchement dans leurs actions respectives pour contrer les pratiques anticoncurrentielles ou qui visent à limiter, restreindre ou faire obstacle à la concurrence.

Le directeur exécutif d’alors de la Commission de la concurrence, Sean Ennis, et le directeur de la PPO, M. Premcoomar Beeharry, reconnaissent qu’il y a, entre les deux organismes, des ‘overlapping powers’. La Public Procurement Act 2006 interdit, aux articles 52 (3) et 53 (1), des activités capables d’entraver la concurrence lors des appels d’offres. Ces provisions visent, par exemple, à sanctionner la collusion entre des soumissionnaires et entre un soumissionnaire et un officier.

De son côté, selon les articles 41-43, la Commission de la concurrence a le pouvoir d’enquêter sur des violations possibles de l’interdiction des accords restrictifs. L’article 42 est spécifique concernant le ‘bid-rigging’, l’accord entre soumissionnaires et la collusion. Le MoU vise ainsi à promouvoir la coopération entre le PPO et la CCM dans de tels cas, et ce afin de minimiser le double emploi (duplication). Cet accord prévoit que chacune des deux parties tienne l’autre informée suite à des plaintes reçues par l’une ou l’autre. Il prévoit aussi le partage d’informations entre les deux organismes.

Copyright

© International Network of Civil Society Organisations on Competition