World Competition Day 2015 Observed

The Ghana Office of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS Ghana), on Wednesday, joined its counterparts worldwide to demand that December 5 be declared by the United Nations General Assembly as World Competition Day.

World Competition Day, which is yet to be officially declared as such by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, is already being celebrated in about 100 countries worldwide and was first marked in Ghana by CUTS Ghana in 2013.

Observation of the Day aims to raise awareness about competition-related issues and serve as a means to ensuring that governments and consumers across the globe realize the potential benefits of an effectively-implemented competition regime.

This year’s event, organized by CUTS Ghana, with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, was observed on the theme: “Competition issues in public procurement”.

The event brought together a select group of experts and practitioners from the Academia, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), development partners, business associations, consumer organizations and regulatory authorities to explore how integrating principles.

In a statement, Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Centre Co-ordinator, CUTS Ghana, noted that public procurement had a complex relationship with market competition.

Mr Adomako said public procurement processes had a direct bearing on social gains for both producers and consumers, hence the need for government and policy makers to develop effective tools to prevent or deter corruption in public procurement.

He said preventing corruption in public procurement would help generate significant savings for government and boost expenditure capabilities, as well as make a significant contribution to the promotion of effective market competition in sectors where procurement accounted for the larger volume of its purchases.

He said available information indicated that an estimated US $ 400 billion changed hands annually through corruption in public procurement across the globe while in Africa, the cost of corruption in public procurement was estimated at US $ 148 billion annually and about 70 per cent of public contracts tainted with corruption in sub-Saharan Africa, leading to a rise in 20-30 per cent of contract sums.

Mr Adomako, therefore, called on government to make the passage of a Competition Policy and Law a priority for the year 2016, adding that it was only through an effective competition law and policy that the state could correct the wrongs in the market and for the market to achieve its full potential.
In a presentation on the theme, Mr Andrew Baafi, Senior Operations Officer, Capacity Building, Public Procurement Authority (PPA), explained that although single or sole sourcing was subject to abuse, it was a valid and acceptable method of procurement.

Mr Baafi said the Public Procurement Act was being amended to check any abuses that had been associated with sole sourcing.

For his part, Mr Kofi Amenya, Director, Legal, Ministry of Trade and Industry, urged all stakeholders to put pressure on Parliament and policy makers to ensure that a Competition Law and Policy were in place.

Prof. Justice Samuel Date-Baah, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Board Chairman of CUTS Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, in his remarks, called on all stakeholders to work tirelessly together to push forward the competition law and policy agenda.

Prof. Date Baah noted that a competition regime could not be achieved automatically, but had to be nurtured, adding that a functional competition regime consisted of a National Competition Policy and a Competition Law, implemented by a well-structured competitive authority.

CUTS Ghana is a policy think-tank whose work spans a multi-pronged agenda targeted at the realization of its vision of consumer sovereignty in the framework of social justice, economic equality and environmental necessity within and across borders.

Specifically, CUTS Ghana works in the areas of consumer protection and education, economic regulation, trade and development, regional integration and competition policy and law, among others. CUTS Ghana began its operations in Ghana in August 2013.

Since December 5, 2010, Cuts International, which has offices in Geneva, New Delhi, Japur, Lusaka, Nairobi and, very soon, in Washington DC, has, in collaboration with the International Network of Civil Society Organizations (INCSOC), been spearheading the campaign to endorse December 5 as World Competition Day.

The 5th of December is being strategically proposed as World Competition Day because it was the day when the UN Conference on Restrictive Business practices approved the UN set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices.

On December 5, 1980, UN adopted the international standard for competition laws under what is called the UN Set on Competition Policy, hence the call on the UN General Assembly by INSOC— with support from 24 countries worldwide including the United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Austria, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Spain and The Gambia, among others— to recognize December 5 as World Competition Day.

In Ghana, the Day was observed ahead of schedule in view of the coincidence of the Day with the country’s Farmers Day celebrations and the fact that December 5 was going to be a holiday.

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