Cartels can harm economy – CCPC

THE Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) says if the procurement process continues to be distorted by cartels and other anti-competitive practices it may cause adverse economic implications. To this effect, CCPC intends to conduct a number of sensitisation programmes targeted at business community on anti-competitive practices.

CCPC board chairperson Kelvin Bwalya said the promotion of competition in the economy is not to hinder business growth but is aimed at creating a conducive market environment for all players. Mr Bwalya said this at the commemoration of the World Competition Day under the theme Competition Issues in Public Procurement in Lusaka on Friday. He said procurement is an important aspect of Government expenditure that enables it buy goods and services needed for enhancing service delivery to the public.

“Competition law prohibits any agreements between independent enterprises that have the effect of substantially lessening competition. The prohibition of anti-competitive agreements covers a wide range of restrictive business practices. “The most serious breaches of the law are cartels involving price fixing, collusive tendering and market sharing. The process of public procurement in small economies like Zambia is also not immune to the pernicious effects of cartels and other anti-competitive practices,” he said. Mr Bwalya said distortion of the procurement process can cause loss of efficiency and diversion of money away from developmental programmes by Government.

He said, however, lack of transparency, discrimination in tenders and effective mechanism makes it difficult to implement procurement policies, hence the need for CCPC to educate the public and Government on the benefits of a competitive market structure and the harmful effects of anti-competitive activities. On sensitisation programme, he said the activities will include risks of bid rigging in procurement of tenders. At the same occasion, Consumer Unity and Trust Society chairperson Yusuf Dodia said there is need to create more awareness on consumer rights.

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