Ghana will soon have a National Competition Law

Ghana, September 19, 2008
Ghana would soon have a National Competition Law that would serve the purposes of ensuring efficiency in the production of goods and services. The law would enable consumers of products and services to enjoy lower prices, higher quality goods and services with variety of choices.

Dr Charles Ackah, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) announced this at the first meeting of a group called the National Reference Group to discuss issues involved in having a competition policy in Ghana. The National Reference Group has members from the National Communications Authority, Energy Commission, PURC, Bank of Ghana, Trade Union, Non Governmental Organizations especially those that focus on consumer protection and the Food and Drugs Board. Dr Ackah explained that a National Competition Law in any developing country like Ghana could play an important role in tackling some abuses of the market power.

For example Ghacem, a cement producing company in Ghana, has been long suspected of price-fixing, he said and noted that prices of cement ranged from GH¢ 5.6 to GH¢ 10, while calculations commissioned by the Auditor General suggested that cement could be retailed at less than GH¢ 4.6.

Dr Ackah said when the law is passed a Competition Commission would be set up to regulate the Ghanaian Market and would ensure access to affordable and quality products and services. “Ghana currently lacks a comprehensive consumer protection law,” he said and explained that even though there were legal institutions to deal with issues that concerned consumer protection there were also challenges that needed to be dealt with. A competition policy in Ghana would adopt advocacy through the National Reference Group to educate citizens about existing laws and regulations to guarantee people access to the right information about access to affordable and quality products. Mr. Rijit Sengupta, Deputy Head of CUTS International, India based non governmental organization that focuses on promoting competition policy, consumer protection, human development and trade issues especially in developing countries said there was the need for the right regulatory framework to ensure an effective competition policy in a country.

He said the project was now featuring in Ghana, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo and would engage in research, dialogues, advocacy, networking and training to educate people about competition policy.

Civil society organizations, the business community and governments are expected to be the direct beneficiaries and the National Reference Group members would help enhance knowledge on competition policy and consumer welfare.

Mr. Sengupta noted that, the project would promote a healthy competitive culture in the country while establishing communication channels between civil society, the business community and government.

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