Help open up markets -CUTS

New Vision Zambia, January 28, 2015

By Muyunda Mwangala
Policies that help open markets and remove anti-competitive regulations can promote competition, resulting in lower prices and better deals for consumers and firms, the Consumer Unit Trust Society (CUTS) International has observed.

CUTS International- Lusaka Assistant Programmes Officer, Annie Siame, has said that enforcement of competition rules across sectors rather than the pure existence of competition laws makes a difference in the impact of competition policies.

A study conducted by CUTS recently revealed that the two sectors have a direct impact on the daily lives of a large section of the population with the development of a competitive market in either of these two sectors reaping more benefits to the population.

“The expenditure on the staple food constitutes a very significant part of the individuals’ budget. Distortions which result in higher prices and challenges in access to the staple food thus have a direct bearing on consumer welfare; hence the importance of ensuring efficiency in production, marketing and distribution of staple food,” Siame said.

“Similarly, the bus transport sector involves close contact between mass consumers (passengers) and transport operators (producers) on a day-to-day basis. Any distortions or policy responses would have higher chances of direct and immediate impact on the economy,” she added.

Siame further explained that lack of competition affects both consumers and producers.

She explained that the aim of the project is to assess the welfare gains and losses for both consumers and producers in the staple food and transport sectors.

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