$1m required to amend Zim's competition laws

HARARE - Approximately $1 million is needed to implement recommendations on Zimbabwe’s competition laws and policy in the next three years, Industry and Commerce deputy minister Mike Bimha said.

The recommendations were drafted by the Peer Review of Competition Law and Policy, a tripartite group including Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Bimha told a stakeholders’ seminar on dissemination of results of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) on Tuesday that the policy reviews afforded the country a chance to rectify inconsistencies.

The recommendations will be implemented in the three countries starting next year.

The Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) has said Zimbabwe’s competition law and policy is weak in terms of controlling consumer welfare and abuse of dominance by companies in service provision.

According to a document released by CTC, the objective of the project is to assist the national competition authorities in the respective countries to enhance their enforcement capacity including training of government staff.

“The funds provided by the development partners for this project will be placed in a separate trust fund account established under the United Nations (UN) financial regulations and rules,” reads part of the document.

Funds would be managed in accordance with the UN rules and procedures applicable to the administration of Technical Cooperation Trust Funds.

Implementation of the project seeks to increase awareness among all stakeholders on the benefits of competition law and policy.

“The overall goal of the project is to create an enabling business environment that will contribute to economic development and poverty reduction in the three countries. To achieve this overall goal, the project will focus on strengthening national competition regimes in dealing with anti-competitive practices at both national and regional levels,” CTC said in the document.

“This requires improving national competition legislations and enhancing the capacities of national competition authorities.”

If successfully reviewed, Zimbabwe’s Competition Act would see the imposition of stiffer penalties on businesses that abuse their dominance in different economic sectors.

Bimha said his ministry accepted findings and recommendations of the peer review.

He said the tripartite review was most appropriate as the three countries involved were in the same commercial regional blocks.

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