Competition Law to relieve consumers of unhealthy business practice : Shafique

Financial Express, Bangladesh‎, July 02, 2012

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed Sunday said the Competition Law would give relief to the country’s consumers from the unhealthy syndication of business.

“Consumers are the most affected persons for the unhealthy competitions in the market and the law has been passed to relieve them,” he said while speaking at a dialogue in a city hotel.

Institute of Policy, Advocacy and Governance (I-PAG) in association with CUTS International of India and International Finance Corporation (IFC) organised the dialogue styled “Effective Implementation of a Competition Regime Benefits for Consumers and Businesses”.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua also spoke at the pogramme as the guest of honour.

The law minister said the comission which will be set up under the Act will enquire about any allegations of anti-competitive move, anti-competitive behaviour and take punitive measures against the unscrupulous circle.

Shafique Ahmed expressed hope that the implementation of the law will benefit the consumers by providing better access to quality goods and services at a competitive price.

Industries Minister Dilip Barua said the government wants a fair competition in the market so that all the market players can play their due role in the marketing process and price fixing.

“We will not allow any kind of ill practices in the market including monopoly, merger acquisition, bid rigging, abuse of dominant position etc,” he said.

Informing that the government has a stock of 170,000 tonnes of sugar to control its price during the coming Ramadan, Dilip Barua said, “Like the sugar market we are very much concerned about the attempt for price hike of daily commodities.”

Chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) Dr Mujibur Rahman said this law aims to protect the consumers so that they will not be cheated and it will also ensure the quality of products.

“It is very much difficult to appoint right persons on the different bodies who have enough knowledge on the related subjects,” he said adding: “the government is now looking for a right person for the commission.”

He also stressed the need for the independence of the commission. Chairman of I-PAG Prof Syed Munir Khasru moderated the discussion.

Advocate Fazle Rabbi Miah MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Law Ministry, William Kovacic, Professor of George Washington Law School and Former Commissioner at Federal Trade Commission of USA, Rahat Kaunain Hassan, Chairperson of Pakistan Competition Commission, Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS International of India, among others, also spoke at the event.

On March 7 this year, the government placed the bill ‘The Competition Law, 2012’ in parliament.

The main objective of the law is to encourage a healthy competition in trade and business and help stop unscrupulous business activities that, in most cases, are aimed at cheating the consumers and controlling markets through means — fair or foul.

On June 17, the parliament passed the bill to set up Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC) that will work to ensure and encourage a healthy competition in business by busting syndicates involved in manipulating and controlling markets.

The BCC to be comprised of a chairperson and a maximum of four members may investigate any allegation on its own or on receiving complaints. And it will oversee the market situation and take necessary measures against unscrupulous businesses and organisations.

An individual may be punished with a jail term of a maximum of one year for violation of any order of the commission or a fine of Tk 100,000 per day for the number of days it fails to comply with the order, according to the bill.

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