EAC competition law yet to be enforced
Regulating competition in East the African Community bloc still faces challenges as some countries are not enforcing the relevant law, the East African Competitions Act 2006.
The regional act seeks, among others, to promote fair trade and ensure consumer welfare and to establish the East African Community Competition Authority.
Experts warn that failure to enforce the competition laws threatens the growth of small and medium enterprises as it exposes them to anti-competition practices.
It is believed that monopolies or firms with very large market share can easily abuse their dominance by engaging in price fixing, sharing of markets, reducing quality of product, among others, to the detriment of consumers.
“Even after protection, some businesses are still inefficient and do not innovate. The cost of production is still high anddo not care about consumers,” said Tania Begazo, an economist at the World Bank Group’s competition policy thematic group, investment climate department.
“The world needs a competitive market to check inefficiency,” Ms Begazo added calling upon regional governments to enforce the competition laws.
The call was made recently during a two-day Technical Training Workshop on competition policy assessment in Rwanda.
In the EAC, it is only Tanzania and Kenya enforcing the Competition Laws through Fair Competition Commission for Tanzania and the Monopolies and Prices Commission for Kenya.
However, failure to enforce the competition laws across the region has also been linked to absence of a regional competition authority, a body that would be charged with enforcing the laws.
Rwanda adopted the Competition and Consumer Protection Policy in 2010.
The policy emphasises competitive pricing and creates an environment for consumers to choose from a variety of products.
Currently, the National Inspectorate and Competition Authority (NICA) is in place to enforce.