Competition law final draft set for Attorney-General

THE final draft of the Competition Law of Zimbabwe will be presented to the Attorney-General’s Office for official drafting before being presented to Parliament.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The legislation will regulate all companies to ensure a level playing field.

A consultative workshop was held yesterday in Harare, with relevant stakeholders inviting input from the business fraternity.
The Competition Law of Zimbabwe seeks to amend the Competition Act Chapter 14:28.

In an interview with NewsDay on the side-lines of the workshop, the consultant lawyer, KL Menns said by making sure businesses and companies played fair in the market, smaller companies would be able to grow unhindered.

“The law operates from a perspective as a law and policy. Competition law is intended to regulate all companies so that they operate more efficiently. For example, it is very common for a company, because they are the only company in the market and are not constrained by a rival, to try and charge excessive prices or exclude future rivals from entering the market. If future rivals enter the market, they now have competition and must now compete on prices and quality,” she said.

“So, we regulate them and try to get new entrants into the market. And if it is only a single company in the market and the market can only have a single company, we ensure they are regulated to make sure that their prices are the best possible price for the consumer.”
The Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) is the statutory body established under the Competition Act to implement and enforce Zimbabwe’s Competition Policy and Law. It also serves to execute the country’s Trade Tariffs Policy.

The commission worked in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which, in turn, hired a consultant, Menns SPRL, an international advisory company, to help craft the competition law.

Research and reviews were funded by the European Union, which was approached by the CTC.

UNCTAD economic affairs officer on competition and consumer policies on international trade, Elizabeth Gachuiri, said the process was to ensure the gaps in the existing Zimbabwean competition law were addressed.

“We are actually entering a new phase towards a new competition law for Zimbabwe, and its implementation. We hope that the EU can continue working with CTC and UNCTAD to complete the process of making the Zimbabwe market competitive and well-regulated, thus, creating a level playing field,” Gachuiri said.

“UNCTAD’s commitment to the successful completion of this project and its possible continuation and sustainability is unequivocal and Zimbabwe continues to be one of our priority countries on competition law and policy.”

CTC acting director, Ellen Ruparanganda said Zimbabwe’s competition law was found to have some gaps during initial reviews on the law back in 2001, which necessitated a review.

The review comes as distribution companies of foreign brands are accusing local players of making it difficult to get import permits.

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