Workshop Cabinet to approve competition policy next year

Dr Ekwow Spio Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry on Friday said Cabinet would by the middle of next year approve the competition policy, which is a key constituent for economic governance.

He said the policy is an issue that is relevant given the current economic challenges and business environment in the country.

He said the Ministry is collaborating with the Attorney Generals Department to commence work on the competition bill, which would lead to the establishment of the competition authority.
The Minister stated this at a national workshop on competition policy, organised by CUTS International, Ghana, a non-governmental organisation pursuing social justice and economic equity in Accra, to incorporate views of stakeholders in developing a national competition regime.

He said effective competition is a development weapon that does not only benefit consumers but firms to find markets and retain customers.
It cannot be achieved automatically but needs to be nurtured by the introduction and propagation of a competitive regime.

Dr Spio Garbrah said a functional competitive regime consists of a national competition policy and a competition law implemented by a well-resourced competition authority.
He said the objective of a functional competition regime is to promote competition, and contribute towards increased efficiency.

It would curb anti-competitive practices in the markets and reduce uncertainties for businesses, as well as an important element for promoting private sector development.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said in competitive environments, firms are pushed to be innovative and find better and more efficient ways to produce and distribute goods and services.

It stimulates effective price competition between suppliers, deter anti-competitive behaviour and help consumers get real value for their money.
Dr Spio-Garbrah noted that the ministry is committed in theory and practice to ensure that Ghana gets functional competition regime at this time by learning from international best practices and making sure that the markets become more dynamic and competitive.
The Trade Minister said no country could develop without a vibrant private sector, adding that the duty of government is to create an enabling business environment for the private sector to grow.

He commended CUTS International for its continuous engagement on the issue of competition and consumer protection and assured the body that the ministry would work tirelessly to ensure that the competition policy becomes a reality.
Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, CUTS International said to get a functional competition regime in Ghana there is the need for a national competition policy, adoption of a competition law, legal interventions or identification of laws with provisions affecting competition in markets and establishment of a competition authority.

He said a competition regime is about a competition policy and law which would look at anti-competitive agreements between firms, abuse of a dominant market and regulation of mergers to prevent tactics to gain excessive dominance in the market.
Mr Adomako said competition regimes for consumers would provide best possible qualities.
It would also safeguard against practices by other businesses, lower entry barriers to promote entrepreneurship, and growth, efficient allocation and utilization of resources to ensure efficient and enhanced productivity.

He said it enables cost savings by companies, adding that lack of a competitive regime in Ghana affects consumers and producers.
He advised government to consult industry players regularly to contribute their views on evaluation and implementation of the competition law; and to ensure effective enforcement of the competition act as well as fair play in all sectors.
Mr Rijit Sengupta, CUTS International, said competition could be a useful policy making tool to achieve certain social and economic challenges in the country.
He said there is the need for governments to be sensitive towards the needs of special interest groups and make provision for public interest, as well as expand the horizon to promote fair markets.