The Ghana Office of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society International (CUTS) has appealed to Government and the Ministry of Trade and Industry to make the passage of the Competition Policy Bill a legislative agenda for 2016.
It said Ghana has not been able to fully embrace a national competition regime yet, which would promote competition and contribute towards increased efficiency as well as curb anti-competitive practices in the market.
It described competition as a fundamental tenet of a well-functioning economy and encouraged companies to provide consumers with the products and services that they want, at lower prices, with better quality of service and stimulation for innovation, and more importantly, efficiency in allocation of resources.
Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Country Co-ordinator for the Ghana Office of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society, made the appeal at the media launch of the 2015 World Consumer Day on the theme: “Competition Issues in Public Procurement”.
The World Competition which falls on December 5 annually, was initiated by the United Nations to raise awareness in governments and consumers across the globe of the potential benefits of having an effectively implemented competition regime.
He said this year’s theme was timely and important as public procurement processes have a direct bearing on social gains for both producers and consumers.
Mr Adomako said businesses and consumers in Ghana continue to suffer largely due to the absence of a functional competition regime, and that in the absence of competition, firms engage in bad practices like the abuse of monopoly, price fixing, cartelization of goods and services, bid rigging and exclusive market sharing agreement, among other things.
He said it was an undeniable fact that competition has become a growing phenomenon not only among developed economies, but also in developing countries, and a functional competition regime would ensure wider consumer choices for goods and services, through innovation and efficient resource use by players.
Mr Adomako urged government and policy makers to develop effective tools to prevent collusion in public procurement, which would help in generating very relevant savings to boost its expenditure capabilities as well as make significant accounts for the larger volume of its purchases.
He said it was only through these actions by the State that the wrongs in the market would be corrected, for full potentials to be achieved.
Mr Adomako said CUTS has been partnering various organisations globally with the sole purpose of influencing change in policy and economic decision making processes, and with the support from the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, it was currently implementing a project titled to advocate a functional competition regime for Ghana.
He said the main goal of the project is to complement 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.
Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, a Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana and Chairman of the University of Ghana Council, said the process to institute a national functional Competition Policy and Law regime has already began, using a participatory approach which would be engaging and involving all key stakeholders, for better ownership.
He said the benefits of having a national competition law and policy in the country, are far reaching as it drives the market and stabilises prices, and encouraged stakeholders to collaborate with the requisite institutions spearheading the process for the successful implementation of a competition regime process.