A book entitled “Competition Regime in Ghana—a need of a nation” has been launched in Accra.
The book, authored by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International— the leading global Civil Society Organization (CSO) promoting competition reforms in the developing world— serves as a guide to establishing a functional competition regime and to promoting competition, contributing towards increased efficiency, and curbing anti-competitive practices in the Ghanaian market.
It was published as part of a 15-month project entitled: “Advocating for a Functional Competition Regime in Ghana”, referred to as COMPAD which is being implemented by CUTS International, with support from the Business Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund and in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, to promote a functional competition regime— consisting of a Competition Policy and Competition Law, and a well-resourced implementation authority— in Ghana.
In a key note address delivered on his behalf at the joint launch and national seminar on the development of a national competition regime, yesterday, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, disclosed that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) had initiated the process of developing a competition policy for Ghana, adding that a local law firm had also been selected to draft a National Competition Policy, which was expected to be ready by the middle of 2016. Dr Spio-Garbrah described competition policy as a key constituent of economic governance and a development weapon that inured to the benefit of both consumers and producers, and that a well-enforced competition regime reduced uncertainty for businesses and was an important element for promoting private sector development.
He commended CUTS for the initiative to establish an Office to promote trade and development, economic regulation and investment, competition policy and law, and consumer protection issues, and pledged the commitment of MoTI to ensuring that a functional competition regime was developed for Ghana. In his remarks, Mr Rijit Sengupia, CUTS International, said competition policy was an area of public policy that required national attention and urged all stakeholders to be part of the debate to give Ghana a functional competition regime.
In a presentation, Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Country Co-ordinator of CUTS Ghana, noted that lack of a competition policy impacted negatively on businesses as they were unable to improve the quality of their goods and services. Presenting the findings of a research undertaken by CUTS on the absence of a competition policy in Ghana and its impact on business development, Mr Abubakari Zakari, also of CUTS, disclosed that because most firms in Ghana faced little or no competition in the market, these firms were exploiting consumers through manipulated quantities of supply to create shortage, leading to high prices for abnormal profits.
The findings of the study, Mr Abubakari said, also indicated that firms in Ghana reacted to competitive pressure in diverse ways, including increased investment in innovation and reduced prices to remain in competition. He, therefore, stressed the need for a competition law to promote a healthy competition among industry players for the benefit of consumers.
In his remarks, Prof. Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Baah, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Board Chairman of CUTS Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, underscored the importance of a competition policy for Ghana. Prof. Justice Date-Baah expressed the hope that the efforts of CUTS would feed into developing a sustainable competition policy and law for the country. CUTS International has been the leading global CSO promoting competition reforms in the developing world. In 2007, CUTS undertook a study in four West African countries dubbed 7Up4 project— “Strengthening Constituencies for Effective Competition Regime in Selected West African Countries”—which was implemented in 7 countries including Ghana.
Apart from the COMPAD Project, CUTS is also executing the Competition Reforms in Key Markets for Enhancing Social and economic Welfare in Developing countries (CREW) Project.
The project, involving three Ministries— Transport, Food and Agriculture, and Trade and Industry, with ISSER as its research partner —is to demonstrate measurable benefits from an effective competition policy and law regime in developing countries for ensuring competition reforms. He was speaking at a Policy Roundtable on Consumer Welfare through Effective Regulation organised by CUTS International on Monday and appealed to CUTS to engage civil society, academia and the media so as to address the pressing consumer concerns in the country.