The state-funded Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) in Malawi says they have a policy that abhors the abuse of market power is an indispensable tool to fend off unfair practices in the country.
CFTC acting executive director, Apoche Itimu, who made the remarks during the commemoration of World Competition Day Tuesday said the advent of COVID-19 has seen a sharp rise in the misuse of market power by larger business enterprises that frustrate smaller ones from participating and competing fairly in the country’s trade activities.
The CFTC boss, therefore, has warned traders not to engage on any anticompetitive trade practices, especially during this festive season when many traders take advantage of unsuspecting consumers to sell or buy goods at manipulated prices.
Itimu said that as the socio-economic impact of the pandemic continues to erode the gains posted as a result of globalisation, existing economic inequalities within and between countries are also increasing the gap between the rich and the poor.
“It has been observed that big enterprises have become bigger while small ones have suffered the most and in some cases have even collapsed,” she said.
Itimu, therefore, hinted that there is a greater need to address abuse of buyer’s power under the fair competition law and policy regarding aspects of labour, farmer welfare and supply chain contracts.
She also expressed dismay over unfair trading practices that impede the achievement of an inclusive digital economy.
She said: “The boom in e-commerce is essential for economic recovery and inclusivity,” she said, adding that there is also a need to protect the digital space.
Commemoration of the World Competition is Day is a tradition that dates back to December 5, 1980 when the United Nations adopted the international standard for competition laws.
This is attributed as “the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices” popularly known as the United Nations Set of Principles and Rules on Competition.