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    REMARKS BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE COMPETITION & CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMISSION (CCPC) MR. CHILUFYA SAMPA DURING THE 2019 END OF YEAR MEDIA BRIEFING HELD ON 18TH MARCH, 2020 AT CCPC HEAD OFFICE IN LUSAKA.

     

    THE CCPC DIRECTORS,
    CCPC MANAGERS AND OTHER STAFF PRESENT HERE,
    OUR INVITED COLLEAGUES FROM THE MEDIA,
    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
    GOOD MORNING TO ALL OF YOU.


    I WARMLY WELCOME YOU ALL TO THIS MEDIA BRIEFING THAT WILL HIGHLIGHT ACTIVITIES OF THE COMPETITION AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMISSION IN 2019.

     

    WE RECOGNISE THE CRITICAL ROLE WHICH YOU, THE MEDIA PLAY IN EDUCATING AND DISSEMINATING INFORMATION TO THE NATION. SO THANK YOU FOR THIS CONTINUED PARTNERSHIP IN KEEPING THE PUBLIC INFORMED ON THE MILESTONES ACHIEVED BY THE COMMISSION.

     

    TODAY, WE REVIEW THE YEAR 2019.IN THE YEAR 2019, WE SCORED SUCCESSES BUT IT ALSO FACED CHALLENGES.

     

     

     

    I WILL START WITH MERGERS AND MONOPOLIES;

     

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

    FROM THE LENS OF THE COMMISSION, ZAMBIA CONTINUES TO BE A DESIRED INVESTMENT DESTINATION. THERE IS A RECOGNITION OF THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE THAT COMPETITION LAW PLAYS IN A LIBERALIZED ECONOMY SUCH AS OURS, IN RELATION TO INVESTMENTS. COMPETITION LAW THROUGH MERGER REGULATION PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN CONTRIBUTING TO INVESTMENT FLOWS IN AN ECONOMY. WE OBSERVE THAT THE 91 MERGERS RECORDED IN 2019 REPRESENT A 3.5 % INCREASE OF MERGERS FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR. THERE IS A POSITIVE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE NUMBER OF MERGERS AND INVESTMENT AS MERGERS CAN SHOW NEW PLAYERS ENTERING THE MARKET. THEREFORE, WE OBSERVED INVESTMENTS IN THE SERVICES SECTOR, ICT, ENERGY, WHOLESALE AND RETAIL, MANUFACTURING, AGRICULTURE AND MINING. OTHER SECTORS INCLUDE REAL ESTATE, BANKING AND FINANCE, TRANSPORT, TOURISM AND LIVESTOCK. 

     

    THE APPROXIMATE VALUE IN MERGER INVESTMENTS  HANDLED IN 2019 WAS THIRTY EIGHT MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND USD (USD38,300,000)  WITH OVER TWO THOUSAND (2,000) DIRECT AND INDIRECT JOBS CREATED.

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET ME ALSO HASTEN TO MENTION THAT, THE COMMISSION HAS CONTINUED TO EXPLORE WAYS OF REDUCING THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN ZAMBIA IN ORDER TO ENCOURAGE INVESTMENTS IN THE VARIOUS SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY. ONE OF THE WAYS HAS BEEN THROUGH THE REVISION OF HOW MERGER FEES ARE BEING CALCULATED. THE RESULTS ARE ALREADY BEING SEEN WITH THE 3.5% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF MERGERS RECORDED IN 2019 AS ALREADY ALLUDED. THE COMMISSION ENVISAGES TO FURTHER REDUCE THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS THIS YEAR WITH THE AIM TO INCREASE INVESTMENTS AND JOB CREATION BY MAKING MERGER REGULATION EASY AND INVESTOR FRIENDLY.

     

    ABUSE OF DOMINANCE

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

    LOOKING AT THE ABUSE OF DOMINANCE CASES, OR MONOPOLY CASES, WE NOTE THAT THE ZAMBIAN ECONOMY CONTINUES TO BE HIGHLY CONCENTRATED. THIS MEANS FEW PLAYERS IN MOST SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY, LEADING TO STAGNATION OF A NUMBER OF INDUSTRIES IN THE COUNTRY. AS A RESULT, THE COMMISSION WITH PARTICULAR INTEREST IN AGRI-BUSINESS UNDERTOOK A NUMBER OF STUDIES TO UNDERSTAND WHY SOME SECTORS CONTINUE TO BE CLOSED TO ZAMBIAN PLAYERS. THE STUDIES ALSO LOOKED AT GOVERNMENT RULES, REGULATIONS AND POLICIES.

     

    WE ARE HAPPY TO REPORT THAT THE STUDIES WHICH WERE FUNDED BY MINISTRY OF COMMERCE, TRADE AND INDUSTRY (MCTI) AND THE WORLD BANK, HAVE COME UP WITH RECOMMENDATIONS WHICH ARE WITH GOVERNMENT WE ARE HOPEFUL GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE UP OUR RECOMMENDATIONS.

     

    AS FOR CASES UNDER ABUSE, THE COMMISSION INVESTIGATED FOURTEEN (14) AND CLOSED NINE (9) CASES. THE SECTORS AFFECTED WERE THE WHOLESALE AND RETAIL, AGRICULTURE AND MANUFACTURING SECTORS. THE CASES INVESTIGATED ARE ALL MEANT TO UNLOCK THE VARIOUS SECTORS IN ORDER TO ALLOW PARTICIPATION OF BOTH BIG AND SMALL PLAYERS, AND ULTIMATELY CONTRIBUTE TO THE GROWTH OF INDUSTRY IN ZAMBIA.

     

    CARTELS

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

    CARTELS REMAIN A SOURCE OF GREAT CONCERN TO THE ECONOMY. THE COMMISISON HAS THUS PUT IN PLACE SEVERAL TOOLS TO CLUMP DOWN ON THIS CONDUCT. THESE TOOLS INCLUDE THE AMNESTY PROGRAM WHICH COMMENCED IN AUGUST 2019 AND RUN TO FEBRUARY 2020 GIVING CARTEL PERPETRATORS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SELF REPORT AND CEASE THE CONDUCT WITHOUT LIABILITY. THE COMMISSION HAS ALSO ACTIVATED THE LENIENCY PROGRAM AND A SETTLEMENT PROGRAM THAT OFFERS DISCOUNTED FINES AND A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT FOR SELF REPORTING.I REGRET TO SAY THAT NO PLAYER HAS TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THIS AMNESTY.

     

    LET THE CARTEL MEMBERS OUT THERE KNOW THAT IT’S A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THEIR CONDUCT IS UNCOVERED. IN 2019 ALONE, THE COMMISSION UNCOVERED 55 SUSPECTED CARTEL CASES AND ONCE INVESTIGATIONS ARE CONCLUDED, THE COMMISSION WILL SEND A STRONG SIGNAL BY PROSECUTING BOTH THE COMPANIES INVOLVED AND THEIR DIRECTORS IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES.

     

    CONSUMER PROTECTION

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

    IN 2019, THE COMMISSION RESOLVED 2,470 CASES AS COMPARED TO 2,156 IN 2018. THE COMMISSION OBSERVED THAT A LOT OF CONSUMER COMPLAINTS WERE FROM THE RETAIL, INSURANCE, BANKING, MICROFINANCE, TRANSPORT AND ICT SECTORS WITH 1,066, 527, 223, 177, 131, AND 128 CASES RESPECTIVELY. WHEN COMPARED TO 2018 FIGURES, THE RETAIL, INSURANCE AND BANKING SECTORS RECORDED INCREASES FROM 991 TO 1,066, 358 TO 527; AND 165 TO 223, RESPECTIVELY.  THE MICROFINANCE, TRANSPORT, AND ICT SECTORS RECORDED DECREASES FROM 184 TO 177, 165 TO 131 AND 164 TO 128, RESPECTIVELY.IN THE RETAIL SECTOR THE MAJORITY OF THE CASES CONCERNED SUPPLY OF DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS WHILST FOR THE SERVICE SECTORS LIKE INSURANCE, BANKING, MICROFINANCE, TRANSPORT AND ICT, THE MAJORITY OF THE CASES HAD TO DO WITH SUPPLY OF UNSUITABLE SERVICES AND MISREPRESENTATIONS.

     

    THE COMMISSION ALSO OBSERVED THAT A LOT OF EXPIRED PRODUCTS WERE SEIZED DURING INSPECTIONS CONDUCTED IN RURAL AREAS. THE SEIZED GOODS WERE WORTH ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED            THIRTY-THREE KWACHA SIX NGWEE (K129,133.06). AFTER INVESTIGATIONS, WE DISCOVERED THAT WHOLESALERS IN THE URBAN AREAS DELIBERATELY SELL THEIR EXPIRED MERCHANDISE TO RURAL TRADERS. FURTHER, SMUGGLED GOODS FROM NEIGHBOURING COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT CONFORM TO ZAMBIAN STANDARDS HAVE FOUND THEIR WAY ONTO SHELVES IN RURAL ZAMBIA.

     

    THE COMMISSION TOGETHER WITH OTHER LAW AND REGULATORY AGENCIES ARE PUTTING IN MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT THIS SITUATION IS CORRECTED.WE HAVE PARTICULARY NOTED AN INFLUX OF SUBSTANDARD AND EXPIRED PRODUCTS SMUGGLED INTO THE COUNTRY THROUGH NAKONDE AND CHAMA IN MUCHINGA PROVINCE THAT FIND THEMSELVES ON RETAIL SHELVES. IN ORDER TO ADDRESS THIS, WE HAVE PARTNERED WITH THE ZAMBIA POLICE (ZP), ZAMBIA REVENUE AUTHORITY (ZRA) AND THE ZAMBIA COMPULSORY STANDARDS AGENCY (ZCSA) AND HAVE SET UP A JOINT TEAM TO UNDERTAKE ENFORCEMENT AND SENSITISATION OF OUR PEOPLE LIVING ALONG THE BORDER ON THE EVILS OF SMUGGLED, SUBSTANDARD AND EXPIRED PRODUCTS. WE HAVE THEREFORE LINED UP SEVERAL JOINT ACTIVITIES FOR THE YEAR TO ELIMINATE THESE VICES SO THAT WE CAN PROTECT ZAMBIA’S CONSUMERS. WE BELIEVE CONSUMER PROTECTION REQUIRES CONCERTED EFFORTS AND WE ARE GRATEFUL TO OUR PARTNERS FOR THEIR COMMITMENT TO THIS.

     

    ADVOCACY

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

    THE COMMISSION HAS CONTINUED TO PROMOTE SELF-POLICING THROUGH EDUCATION AND ADVOCACY. THIS IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO ENFORCEMENT AND HAS LESS REPUTATIONAL RISK FOR THE COMPANIES CONCERNED. THE COMMISSION HAS THUS PRIORITISED SECTORS WITH A HIGH POTENTIAL TO ENGAGE IN CONDUCT THAT IS LIKELY TO BE AT VARIANCE IN THE COMPETITION AND CONSUMER LAW. GIVEN THAT ULTIMATE BENEFICIARIES OF COMPETITIVE MARKETS ARE CONSUMERS, THE COMMISSION HAS ALSO WIDENED ITS OUTREACH ACTIVITIES TARGETING SCHOOL GOING CHILDREN (SECONDARY) IN INCULCATING CONSUMERISM EDUCATION. TO DATE, THE COMMISSION HAS ROLLED OUT 309 SCHOOL CLUBS AND IS MAKING EFFORTS TO HAVE THESE TENETS INCLUDED IN THE SCHOOL CURRICULUM FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENGAGEMENT.

     

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

    THE COMMISSION HAS CONTINUED TO BE INSTRUMENTAL IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMPETITION LAW AND POLICY IN AFRICA. THE COMMISSION HAS CONTINUED TO ACT AS A CENTER OF EXCELLENCE BY INDUCTING YOUNG AND EMERGING COMPETITION AUTHORITIES IN AFRICA. IN THE YEAR 2019, THE COMMISSION HOSTED, PERSONNEL FROM LESOTHO, ETHIOPIA, SYCHELLES AND SUDAN. ZAMBIA IS RECOGNISED TO HAVE AN EFFECTIVE COMPETITION AND CONSUMER LAW WHICH OTHER COUNTRIES CONTINUE TO EMULATE.

     

    THE GREATEST MILESTONE OF 2019 WAS THE SUCCESSFUL HOSTING OF THE INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AND ENFORCEMENT NETWORK (ICPEN) ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN LIVINGSTONE AND THE WINNING OF AN ADVOCACY AWARD FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION NETWORK (ICN).

     

    I THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ATTENTION AND

    MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS

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