Joint effort needed to fight trade vices


There is need for capacity building among the stakeholders especially the judiciary if the fight against bid rigging and for irregularities in trade competition to be controlled.

Deputy Chief State advocate (taxation and financial crimes), Catherine Phiri said everybody needs to know what their roles were in order to work together in the fight against unfair trade practices.

Ms Phiri said the judiciary should be well sensitized on the issues surrounding the laws of trade competition and consumer rights competition in Zambia.

“Everybody need to understand what their role is, or else how can we work together with Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) to identify the flaws in the tender or bidding arena,” she said.

Ms Phiri was speaking at media event organized by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in commemoration of the World Competition Day in Lusaka last Friday. The legal advocate said competition laws were not well developed in Zambia which had resulted in little litigation in the courts of law.

She said even University of Zambia School of Law did not teach competition law to students during her study at the institution. “In developed countries, competition law is a very big issue, but not in the developing countries like Zambia. There is need for a multi-agency response which must include law enforcement and the judiciary,” she said.

The world commemorates World Competition Day on December 3 and this year’s day was under the theme “Competition issues in public procurement”. CCPC board chairperson Kelvin Bwalya said the commemoration was aimed at creating a healthy marketplace for growth of business and for the benefit of the consumer globally. “Public procurement is an important aspect of Government expenditure that enables the Government to purchase its service delivery to the general public.

“Prohibits law prohibits any agreements, arrangements or understanding between independent enterprises that has the object or effect of substantially lessening competition or limiting access to the market,” Mr Bwalya said. He said it was no wonder the commission was engaging the media to help bring out unfair trade practices in their investigations for public awareness. He said issues of cartels and other anti-competition practices were not new to public procurement processes which also included bid rigging in mass infrastructure developments like in the construction industry. He challenged the media to help Government to uncover some illegal activities affecting fair competition in public procurements which included pricing and quality control in the management of projects.