Monday, 5 December 2011

zambia consumers right protection authority vows to uproot and stam out business cartels

the competition and consumer protection commission has vowed to stamp out any cartels which it will trump upon stating that the vice has drastic effects on the members of the public who are consumers of services provided by companies.
the commission has also warned trader associations that have been formed on the basis of ensuring standards and quality service to the general public to desist
the commission says the pricing and terms of conditions of sale are supposed to be private and confidential to each enterprise which make one enterprise more competitive than another hence the warning must be taken seriously adding that the commission will investigate associations that discuss prices as this violates section 9 of the act.
ccpc board vice chairperson simomo akapelwa says the vice is growing in the country as cartels are very profitable to venture in and that is why even with serious penalties provided in the competition and consumer protection act 2010 of imprisonment and high fines, enterprises still engage in such activities.
mr akapelwa has explained that in order to address cartels, the new competition and consumer protection act number 24 of 2010 provides for a leniency programme, a kind of whistle blowing framework which allows participants in cartels to report cartel conduct to the commission in exchange for protection from prosecution.
the vice chairperson who was speaking in light of the celebrations to mark the second anniversary of world competition day says the leniency programme has not been successful due to lack of education on the part of business to ensure that the whistle blowers understand the intent of the programme.
mr. akapelwa says the commission has however not been sitting idle to wait for persons to report conducts to the commission but has been conducting various programmes in relation to cartels and so far three cartels were blocked from taking place.
he says recently the commission conducted a dawn raid in the motor vehicle sector in lusaka where garages colluded in a cartel to fix prices for motor vehicle repair services and the commission is finalizing investigations with the view to punish all cartel members.
meanwhile mr. akapelwa says the construction, tourism, finance, banking and agriculture sectors are area of priority concern to the commission for which it will be paying more attention.
he further disclosed that the commission is in the process of engaging the law association of zambia (laz) even though the association is protected by law to ensure that competition is introduced in the sector.
and speaking at the same briefing consumer unity trust society-cuts international board chairperson ambassador love mtesa has urged zambia through the commission to consider putting up a strong position to the united nations conference on trade and development in support of the world competition day.
ambassador mtesa says the cartel business is also a cause of concern from the development and poverty alleviation perspective.

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