Law on market competition in Ghana soon

LawMr Kofi Amenyah, Legal Director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, has said there is a draft policy and a bill to address issues with regards to market competition in the country.

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.

Mr Amenya said this at a day’s conference on the theme; “Competition Regime in Ghana; Need of the Nation”, organised by Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International in Accra.

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

Mr Amenya said CUTS project entitled, Advocating for a Functional Competition Regime for Ghana sought to develop a national competition policy and law through an informed process, incorporating the views of key actors.

Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Country Director of CUTS, 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.

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.

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.

He said some prevailing anti-competition tendencies in Ghana included Ghana cement, which dominates the cement market, Electricity Company of Ghana controls the end user, Vodaphone Ghana controls fixed line assets especially with Cap on broadband usage and National Health Insurance Authority cannot be the regulator and still run and manage (service provider), the NHIS at the same time.

Mr Adomako also disclosed that Barclays Bank will soon be leaving Africa and its shares will be scrampled for by other banks, adding that we need competition law to control mergers and acquisition.

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

Mr Adomako said the bill has been drafted and was currently with the Ministry and would be submitted to cabinet.

Speaking on the topic; “ Market Distortion and Anti-Competitive Trade Practices; The Case of Price Fixing in Ghana”, Ms Edayatu Lamptey of CUTS International, 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 Ghc1.30 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.

Source: GNA

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