Accra, Dec. 6, GNA - The Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), an international civil society organisation, has appealed to the Government to prioritise the passage of a competition law, next year, to ensure the effective functioning of the market.
The Society said the law would also ensure that consumers and market players were protected against conducts that could distort the functionality of the market by limiting production or supply just to spike prices.
Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, the Centre Coordinator of CUTS Ghana, made the call at the celebration of this year’s World Competition (Antitrust) Day on Wednesday in Accra, on the theme: “Competing Without Market Rules.”
He said markets devoid of competition law could be replete with cartels controlling the provision, supply, and manufacturing of essential goods and services.
Mr Adomako said it was important that a competition culture was nurtured through the combined intervention of policy direction and law.
“Unfortunately, the Ghanaian market is without a competition policy and law, which implies that firms can get away with engaging in conducts that could derail the proper functioning of the market,” Mr Adomako said.
He said 70 per cent of African countries had competition laws but the closest Ghana had gone to enacting the law was the Protection Against Unfair Competition Act, 2000 (Act 589), which did not address the full dimension of a competition law.
“This means that the Ghanaian consumer is vulnerable to exploitation by dominant firms and cartels while significant costs build ups in firms could also be a result of exploitation by upstream dominant firms. The end product would be high prices for consumers,” he said.
Mr Adomako said if the law was passed and implemented effectively, it would promote private sector development, economic growth and poverty reduction.
Mr Alan Kyeremanten, the Minister of Trade and Industry, in a speech read on his behalf, said Ghana had made some efforts to formulate a competition policy and subsequently to enact the competition law.
“The draft bill is before the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department for further considerations before being presented to Parliament,” he said.
The Minister said Ghana’s competition law, when passed, would maintain, promote and sustain fair and free competition in the market, prohibit anti-competitive practices, and prevent practices that could adversely affect the protection of the welfare and interest of consumers in the country.
Mr Kofi Amenyah, the Director of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry, expressed the hope that the Ministry would finalise the passage of the competition law next year.
The World Competition (Antitrust) Day is a United Nations (UN) adopted day on international standard for competition laws under what is called the “UN Set on Competition Policy.”