Thursday, October 22, 2020

Competition Authority calls for fair market access through fair competition

Competition Authority Chief Executive Officer, Thula Kaira, says the aim of effective competition in an economy is that the more players exist in any market, the more the behavior of market players will answer to the needs of customers and consumers.

Kaira says where there is workable competition, rival sellers, whether existing competitors or new or potential entrants in a market, would keep this behaviour in check by offering or threatening to offer better products and services, better prices.  

Speaking at the national completion policy stakeholder conference, Kaira stated that for Botswana, fair competition for the consumer by various market actors is essential to ensure innovative product delivery, value and choice for consumers. He added that competition is a pre-requisite to innovativeness and competitiveness which is essential in exports and outward foreign investment. He said monopoly markets are slow to innovate and adapt to new ways of doing business.

“A system to promote and protect competition is a necessary system as well as successful implementation of competition policy that requires a knowledgeable and cohesive stakeholder base,” said Kaira.

He stated that the government of Botswana, through its Cabinet, adopted the National Competition Policy for Botswana in July 2005 and added that the Policy preceded by an Economic Mapping Survey ┬áthat noted levels of unemployment, increasing dominance of foreign firms in Botswana’s economy.

 Furthermore Kaira said there is need to safeguard and promote the growth and development of citizen-owned SMEs and other government policy initiatives such as the diversification of the economy.

“The Competition Act falls under what is referred to as “anti-trust law”, “anti-monopoly law” or simply “competition law” and also “Market access” on the ground may be constrained by a number of structural, behavioural or administrative barriers to entry and growth,” he explained.

Kaira also observed that markets are susceptible to be captured by greedy business entrepreneurs to the detriment of other possible beneficiaries and hence the need for a control system.  

He revealed that the United Nations (UN) has endorsed a law to control or eliminate restrictive agreements or arrangements among enterprises, or mergers and acquisitions or abuse of dominant positions of market power, which limit access to markets or otherwise unduly restrain competition, adversely affecting domestic or international trade or economic development.

“All other decisions by Commission or Authority, or failure for them to Act, appealed to the High Court,” said Kaira.

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