Lusaka (Zambia), June 27, 2014
Competition reforms set for agric, transport sectors
Zambia Daily Mail, July 07, 2014
THE Consumer Trust Unit (CUTS) International is implementing a project on competition reforms targeting agriculture and transport sectors in four African countries including Zambia. The other countries are Ghana, India and the Philippines.
CUTS International Africa regional director Rejit Sengupta said the project titled Competition Reforms in Key Markets for Enhancing Social and Economic Welfare in developing countries (CREW) will benefit both consumers and producers.
Mr Sengupta, who is coordinator of CREW project, said the process of competition enforcement is fairly weak across many developing countries, and needs to be strengthened to ensure that competition reforms lead to measurable welfare gains.
He was speaking at the second National Reference Group (NRG) meeting in Lusaka recently. “Through this project, CUTS aims to develop an approach which would help in assessing benefits of competition reforms on consumers and producers in two sectors,” he said.
Mr Sengupta said maize and bus transport sectors particularly, could have impacts on consumers and producers, hence the project is trying to identify benefits that are accruing to consumers and producers in the two sectors that can be attributed to competition reforms.
The NRG comprised key national institutions and stakeholders with the specific role of taking the project findings forward for policy and practice changes.
The purpose of the NRG meeting was to allow the sector experts to share the findings from the project to enable the NRG members to review them and guide the researchers on issues that need to be explored further.
At the same event, Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) director for mergers and monopolies Luyamba Mpamba highlighted that the two sectors being targeted under the project are also among the most viable and open to entry, which has seen CCPC intervening in them following some allegations of anti-competition practices.
“We are happy that such a project is implemented in Zambia as this would help in identifying reforms that can remove impediments that are stifling competition, leading to adverse impact in the market,” he said.
Earlier, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Siazongo Siakalenge said demonstrating benefits of competition to stakeholders using a credible body of evidence has remained a challenge for developing country policymakers.
Mr Siakalenge said Government is ready to work with CUTS in liaising with the ministries of Agriculture and Transport for exploring the incorporation of emerging recommendations from the project in relevant policies and processes.
The meeting was characterised by informative discussions from the institutions that were represented.
These included Zambia Consumers Association, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Commuters Rights Association of Zambia and the Zambia Bureau of Standards.