CHARGING of high prices arising from anti-competitive practices such as cartels is a major challenges facing investors and consumers in East African region and impeding effective competition in the markets, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Mr Liberat Mfumukeko has said.
Mr Mfumukeko was speaking during the opening of the second meeting of EAC competition Authority to develop the region competition authority rules of procedure and review progress reports for the authority's activities for the period of June, 2017.
He said new rules must create an impact in the Community as they play a critical role towards leveling competition regulation across the Partner States Mr Mfumukeko emphasized on the importance of competition law and policy in the facilitation of regional integration saying the Community has huge opportunities which are attractive to potential investors.
"The EAC markets pose challenges to investors and consumers including the charging of high prices arising from anti-competitive practices such as cartels. These practices impede effective competition in the markets," said Mr Mfumukeko.
The Secretary General disclosed to the meeting that the community was also focusing on increasing investment in industrialization and agricultural sectors as part of her strategies to reduce the high rate of unemployment in the region.
He informed the Commissioners that there is need to have a conducive environment to create employment by attracting investors from the Community and the rest of the world.
On his part, the Chairperson of the Commissioners, Mr Sam Watasa reiterated that full operationalization of the EAC competition Authority (Authority) would help to address market distortions that affect private sector investments.
He also noted that development of Competition policy and law in the region was at different levels of implementation. Kenya and Tanzania have operational National Competition Agencies, Rwanda and Burundi had enacted laws but are yet to be operationalized.
In Uganda there was a draft Competition Bill. He envisaged that once the Authority became fully operational, the processes of operationalizing competition laws in Partner States would be enhanced.