Ghana News Agency, April 27, 2010

The Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, on Monday noted that issues relating to competition among corporate organisations are not well understood by many Ghanaians.

Dr Charles Ackah, Research Fellow at ISSER, said it was important for advocacy and creation of awareness on issues bothering on competition to ensure that consumers get a greater choice of products at a lower price. At a meeting to discuss the passing of the Competition Bill into law, he noted that Ghana lacked a comprehensive consumer protection law and urged the government to play a key role in the establishment of a competition authority to protect consumers. The meeting dubbed National Reference Group brought together officia from various ministries, department and agencies as well as people from t= he regulatory authorities, Ghana Trades Union Congress, and consumer protection groups.

Dr Ackah said a research organised by ISSER with support from Consum= er Utility and Trust Society (CUTS), a non-governmental organisation that pursue social justice and economic equity, showed that 58 percent of Ghanaians had no knowledge of rules or laws that checked anti-competitive behaviours. Giving examples of some sectors that have created monopoly in the country and therefore does not give the ordinary Ghanaian the best of services and prices, he listed those in the water and power sectors, cement industry and land telephone lines. Dr. Ackah said such sectors should be liberalised and open to competition in order to provide consumers with better services and relatively affordable prices.

He pointed out that ISSER in collaboration with authorities of the university intends to set up a Centre for Trade Policy and Competition Analysis to offer Masters Programme to help many Ghanaians understand competition issues. Mr. Rijit Sengupta, an official from CUTS International, India, noted that a competition policy has a huge role to play in the development of the economy and called for increased advocacy to help tackle some market abuses and protect consumers in Ghana.

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