Story by Stanley James, Business Editor
ZIMBABWE has pledged its allegiance to the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) regional trade agenda, which calls for the refining of competition regulations to reduce monopolies and protect consumer interests.
The COMESA Competition Commission’s 10th year anniversary in Malawi has created a platform for member states to assess the effects of competition in stimulating industrial growth.
A competition and tariffs law consultant based in Zimbabwe, Mr Alexander Kububa revealed on the sidelines of the celebrations in Malawi this Thursday that commitment by Zimbabwe to focus on increased competition will boost quality of goods and services.
“There is that aspect which we need to focus on that is on identifying competition needs and rectifying challenges so that the competition law is modelled along regional market expectation,” noted Dr Alexander Kububa.
The agreed position is that Zimbabwe should not lag behind in facilitating a competitive climate for local industry by continuously reviewing laws governing company mergers and unfair trading practices.
“The competition law is vital as it plays a critical role in ensuring fair play that has a positive effect in terms of protect the consumers while ensuring that local firms can accelerate regional market penetration,” said Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Director, Mrs Rose Mpofu.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice Luke Malaba noted, “Competition law is a very important means of protection of markets against unfair practices that restrict and distort free markets.”
“The purpose of the competition law is therefore to ensure there is fair play in the market for the big and small market actors,” he added.
He went on, “It therefore ensures that at the end of the day there is a balance between demand and supply without unnecessary monopolies and restrictive practices that are intended to increase prices for the consumers.”
The COMESA Competition Commission’s 10th anniversary is being held when the 21 regional economic member bloc, with a population of over 660 million people, is forging ahead with policies to boost industrial productivity, increasing regional trading and boosting the value of goods produced by firms.
Zimbabwe, as a member of the bloc, is also forging ahead with policies to broaden the market base through massive investments in the retooling of local firms.