By Muhammad Bah
The Executive Secretary of the Gambia Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (GCCPC), Mr. Amadou Ceesay, told the joint session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises Committee (PAC/PEC) that although some government regulations are important to promote and protect public policy goals, there are some that impact on businesses and affect market competition in the country.
Presenting the GCCPC report, Mr. Ceesay highlighted that a regulation that caps the number of sellers in a market to one or few people will certainly limit competition, adding that a regulation that also fixes the price of a product will reduce the way sellers compete.
The GCCPC Executive Director told parliamentarians that competition is a process of rivalry between suppliers who would like to win business and that the rivalry is in many forms, which include the lowering of prices, the increase of product quality or choice and the investment in research to develop new goods and services, among others.
He told the PAC/PEC members that the sellers compete to reduce the prices offered to buyers and these, he added, make sellers efficient. He further said that sellers compete by innovating new products to meet the preference of consumers.
The GCCPC Executive Director told the PAC/PEC that despite the advantages of self regulations ensuring the utilization of the necessary expertise in regulating industry, policy makers should also take note that the industry may have anti-competitive effects if abused to protect the interest of some operators in the industry.
He further told the joint session that regulations and policies that consider impacts on competition will increase productions and bring healthy competitive markets as well as advise policy makers to conduct a competition impact assessment as a policy option.
Mr. Ceesay said licensing sellers limit the minimum quality standards of suppliers and reduce competition in a market, adding that policies that prevent a new firm from entering the Gambia either directly or indirectly would have an adverse effect on both competition and the economy. He noted that the entry of new firms will create pressure on existing firms to be more efficient and productive.
He said the GCC is an independent institution created in 2007 to enforce the Competition Act 2007 and that it aims to promote fair competition in the national economy.
In his conclusion, Mr. Ceesay told the PAC/PEC joint session that the expertise and public awareness is low at GCCPC and it needs to build its capacity and sensitize business and consumers to ensure awareness on the Commission’s mandate.