Government has put together a draft framework for a competition law and a national competition policy for parliament’s consideration and approval into law, Mr Alan Kyeremanten, the Minister of Trade and Industry has said.
The Minister said the documents when passed into law would create a level playing field in the marketplace and contribute towards increased efficiency and curb anti-competitive practices in the market.
Mr Kyeremanten said this in Accra to mark World Competition Day on the theme: “Mergers and Acquisition in the Absence of Competition Laws.” The event was organized by the Ghana Office of the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), an advocacy think tank, with support from USAID, European Union, DANIDA and BUSAC Fund.
The World Competition Day, which falls on December 5 every year, was initiated by the United Nations, to raise awareness of governments and consumers across the globe of the potential benefits of having an effectively implemented competition regime.
Mr Kyeremanten announced that government would soon inaugurate the Ghana International Trade Commission to ensure that international trade regulation in the country was in conformity with the rules and regulations of the World Trade system and to make the resolution of all trade related disputes easier.
Mr Kyeremanten said competition policy and law were key to government’s industrial transformational agenda, adding that, competition results in innovation and technology. “Effective competition not only benefits consumers but also firms to find markets and retain customers. It is a development weapon that enures to the benefit of both consumers and producers,” he added.
He noted that businesses have to strategize to remain competitive; saying mergers and acquisitions was one of the ways by which companies do to harness the merit of synergy. The Minister said the recent mergers and acquisitions in the banking and telecom sectors should be structured in a way to bring about efficiency to both market players and consumers.
He reiterated government’s commitment in theory and practice to make sure the country gets functional competition regime and as well learn from international best practices for the market to become more dynamic and competitive to attract foreign direct investment.
Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Country Co-ordinator for the CUTS, urged government to speed up the passage of the competition policy and law to curb anti-competitive policies. Mr Adomako said businesses and consumers in Ghana continue to suffer largely due to the absence of a functional competition regime, and that, in the absence of competition, firms engage in bad practices like the abuse of monopoly, price fixing, cartelization of goods and services, among other things.
He said it was an undeniable fact that competition has become a growing phenomenon not only among developed economies, but also in developing countries, and a functional competition regime would ensure wider consumer choices for goods and services, through innovation and efficient resource use by players.