THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has raised concern on the weak enforcement of competition laws in developing countries, as it threatens the objective of promoting and encouraging competition.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA
The director of the Comesa Competition Commission George Lipimile stated that the workshop was on the provisions and application of Comesa Competition Regulations and Trade Developments within the bloc.
“If we are not enforcing these laws, the people will not benefit. People can only benefit when there is enforcement. It’s through enforcement of the laws that we can see the benefits of these laws,” he said.
Lipimile said the goal of these provisions and regulations was to safeguard competition in the common market as a means to enhancing intra-regional trade, protecting consumer welfare and ensuring efficient allocation of resources in the common market.
He said competition laws have reduced the cost of doing business by 66%. To date, three out of 19 Comesa member states are yet to put in place competition law, policy and development.
“The Comesa member states are fully compliant, all the countries are fully compliant and this was achieved in three years. It has been a very successful story and we recommend the Comesa member states,” he said.
Lipimile said the bloc’s plans to establish a regional one stop shop are currently bearing fruit as member states are no longer required to travel from one state to another as countries are required to comply with Comesa.
“Mergers can now be approved in less than 120 days and authorisation will take 180 days. The regional one stop shop competition authority has been achieved,” he said.
Lipimile said excessive pricing was brought by monopoly, saying that competition is not about government but about business.
Zimbabwe is in the process of reviewing its competition law to ensure that gaps in the legislation are addressed.
According to reports, Cabinet has approved the National Competition Policy and one element of the policy is to reduce the time it takes the Zimbabwean Competition and Tariff Commission to review mergers and acquisitions from 90 to 60 days.