Ghana is in the process of formulating a Competition Policy and to subsequently enact a Competition Law, the draft bill of which is before the Attorney-General's Department for further considerations, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanten, has disclosed.
Mr Kyeremanten explained that Ghana's Competition Law, when passed, would curb anti-competitive practices such as cartels, abusive monopolies, predatory pricing, collusive tendering, exclusive market sharing agreements and bid rigging―all of which, he said, had negative effects on both consumers and producers.
He said the absence of a Competition Policy and Law, leading to increased unfair trade practices, was the key factor partly contributing to Ghana's uncompetitiveness and ability to take advantage of the opportunities in global trade.
He said a Competition Law would, therefore, help maintain, promote and protect the welfare and interests of consumers, and gave the assurance that Government was committed to actively supporting an effective competition regime that would promote private sector development, economic growth, poverty reduction and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Mr Kyeremanten indicated that it was part of such determination to deal with unfavourable trade practices and deliberate unfair trade such as dumping and subsidization by foreign companies that the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) Act was passed in 2016.
He said the law was passed to ensure fair competition for persons engaged in domestic production and international trade; protect the domestic market from the impact of unfair trade practices in the course of international trade; and to ensure fairness, efficiency, transparency and objectivity in the application of measures affecting international trade.
Mr Kyeremanten was speaking in an address delivered on his behalf at a Policy Dialogue to mark World Competition Day in Accra, yesterday, December 5, 2018.
In a statement, Mr Appiah Kusi Adomako, Co-ordinator, Ghana Chapter, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS)― a public policy research and advocacy think tank―noted that competition was a fundamental tenet of well-functioning markets and encouraged companies to provide customers with products and services they wanted.
Mr Adomako said competition resulted in the lowering of prices for goods and services, better service quality, wider choices for consumers, stimulation of innovation and, more importantly, efficiency in the allocation of resources.
On the other hand, he said, lack of competition promoted the abuse of dominance where a player enjoying a position of strength engaged in activities intended to drive competitors out of business or intended to gain more revenue from the customers.
He, therefore, urged Government to make the passage of the Competition Policy and Law both a policy and legislative priority agenda for the year 2019.
Mr Adomako said as Ghana joined the global community to mark World Competition Day, CUTS Ghana was reminding Government that the passage of a Competition Policy and Law was long overdue.
He noted that efforts to enact a Competition Law began more than a decade ago, accompanied by missed deadlines which should no longer be entertained.
Prof. Justice Samuel Date-Bah, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, underscored the importance of a Competition Policy and Law as a guide to the conduct of the market in order to avoid any rent-seeking or restrictive trade practices.
Prof. Justice Date-Baah noted that although efforts to promote an effective competition regime were slow, some progress had been made and that a policy and law on competition was in the offing.
December 5, each year, is commemorated worldwide as World Competition (Antitrust) Day― the United Nations having adopted the international standards for competition laws under what is known as the UN Set on Competition Policy.
Consequently, other multi-lateral institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Africa Union (AU) have advocated that all Member States put in place a Competition Policy and Law to guide the conduct of business.
This year's World Competition Day took place on the theme: Competing Without Market Rules.