Government, private businesses and consumers should be concerned when the competition policy is not effective and efficient in its application.
Speaking at the commemoration of the World Competition Day this week, Competition Authority (CA) chief executive officer, Thula Kaira said competition should be of concern the same way as levels of corruption and fair public procurement processes anywhere.
“When we talk about competition, it should not be limited to the Competition Authority alone,” he said. “The subject of competition affects all of us who are involved in business, who are customers or consumers of goods and services.”
Kaira said competition affected trade, investment, growth, competitiveness and sustenance of business in society.
He said government departments, including local authorities, were big consumers of goods and services. Therefore, the prices at which they pay for those goods and services, terms of delivery and quality, must be their concern.
As for private businesses, Kaira said they were equally consumers of intermediate goods and services from other businesses.
“They may also be affected by excessive prices or unfair practices of their suppliers or dominant customers through prohibitive terms and conditions,” he said.
He added that consumers should also be concerned at the prices they pay for goods and services, their quality and availability. He said these were matters that were dealt with through the National Competition Policy, going beyond the jurisdiction of the CA.
According to Kaira, while competition law and policy would intervene in business to protect and promote the innovation that moved society to greater levels, it was equally important on the other hand to emphasise that business, more so private business, created wealth for any nation.
“We should ensure that the policies and laws, both in word and in their application, assist private business to create such wealth, which wealth results in greater tax revenues for the state, higher number of jobs created and the quality thereof, competitive prices and better quality and delivery of goods and services. This is in essence, ‘development’ so-called,” said the CEO.
He said there should be no worry when legitimate business in the society was thriving beyond expectation, noting that the prosperity of business was the prosperity of society.
He said the role of CA should be to ensure that both existing and prospective business interests had fair access to the business opportunities and growth in society.
“In this context, our role as a competition authority is not to fight battles for competitors against each other, rather to regulate use of anti-competitive power in the market,” he said.