The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has said it is not here to scare away businesses but to discipline them and create a fair play for all market players.
CCP chairperson Rahat Kaunain Hassan stated this while presiding over 11th quarterly meeting of Competition Consultative Group (CCG). The body was set up by CCP to solicit feedback and suggestions on competition-related issues and policies from public and private sector representatives.
Quoting Lord Goff, a former British judge, Hassan said: “We are there to oil the wheels of commerce, not to put a spanner in the works.” She hoped that the business community would extend full cooperation to the Commission in implementing the competition law.
She highlighted competition concerns regarding exclusive and concessionary agreements that the government reached with specific parties to bridge the infrastructure gap. She added CCP was probing such concessions to ensure that competition law had not been compromised in such cases.
In the meeting, a representative of Unilever Pakistan pointed to the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) and its effects on competition due to smuggling and dumping of tea in the local market. Hassan sought details from the company and said CCP would examine competition issues, if any, in ATT. “If required, CCP will issue a policy note to the government,” she said.
She gave an overview of CCP’s performance in financial year 2011 and discussed the challenges. CCP has issued 13 orders, 49 show-cause notices, conducted six inspections, issued 75 merger NOCs and granted 49 exemptions. It also completed five sector studies.
A source of encouragement, she said, was that the business community had started realising the importance of compliance with the competition law. In the case of Pakistan Jute Mills Association, the parties concerned have agreed to deposit a fine of Rs23 million in government account, with a promise to refrain from anti-competitive practices.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2011.