National Reference Group of CREW Project Meet in Accra

The 4th National Reference Group (NRG) meeting of the Competitions Reforms in Key Markets for Enhancing Social and Economic Welfare in Developing Countries (CREW) Project has taken place in Accra. The CREW Project aims to develop an approach, which will help in assessing the benefits of competition reforms on consumers and producers in the two select sectors.

One of the main goals of the project is to demonstrate the benefits of competition reforms for consumers and producers, so that greater attention and support can be provided to this issue by policymakers in developing countries. It is being implemented over a three-year period from November 2012 in four countries, namely Ghana, India, The Philippines and Zambia, and across two common sectors—Staple Food and Passenger Transport.

The Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International is implementing the project with support from the British Department for International Development (DfID) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ), and facilitated by the German Development Corporation (GIZ). Addressing participants at the meeting, yesterday, Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Co-ordinator of the Ghana Centre of CUTS International, stressed the need for a National Road Transport Authority (RTA) for Ghana to serve as a regulatory body that would ensure bus availability, standard fares and safety, and, above all, regulate the dominance of transport unions in Ghana.

Mr Adomako noted that currently in Ghana, bus transport was subject to self-regulation by the transport unions who exercised considerable dominance in deciding which routes operators should ply. He said the pro-competitive elements in LI 2180 of 2012, was that allocation of bus routes would be based on needs and route franchising through a competitive tendering process. He said the expected key benefits of the proper implementation of LI 2180 included ensuring proper availability of bus services in Ghana, healthy competition as operators would strive to increase market share by offering attractive services to customers, and establish themselves by providing high quality services, especially increasingly higher safety standards.

In a presentation, Ms Edayatu Lamptey of CUTS Ghana called for the strengthening of the system of maize procurement in Ghana by addressing some of the weaknesses or loopholes. In his remarks, Prof. Felix Asante, Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), and Chairman for the occasion, underscored the importance of the meeting which, he said, would help fashion out a good advocacy policy.

Present at the ceremony were representatives of the Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Centre for Urban Transportation and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). The others were representatives of ISSER, National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) and Market Queens .

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