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FG moves to break unfair monopolies, business practices

by Business News Report

… New Competition, Consumer Protection Policy out soon
The Federal government has commenced moves to tackle unfair business practices, in its determination to provide a fair and competitive environment for industry, trade and investment. In view of this, the implementation of a new Competition and Consumer Protection Policy that will address the various trade concerns and provide a level playing ground for businessmen in the interest of consumers, in particular, and the economy at large, will begin soon.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday, noted that the new policy would forestall the emergence of private monopolies, cartels, engender fair trade and ensure that Nigerian consumers got value for their money.
Aganga spoke during the formal presentation of the Draft Competition and Consumer Protection Policy to Ministries, Extra-Ministerial Agencies, Organised Business Communities and State Governments in the Northern Part of Nigeria.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Abdulkadir Musa, Aganga said, “In line with the Transformation Agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, and with the ongoing reforms in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government saw the urgent need, as is consistent with global trends, for a robust legal and regulatory framework to govern consumer protection and competition that would underpin the reforms.

“This will in turn, forestall and/or minimise the emergence of private monopolies who would replace the public monopolies that the government was moving away from. The government of President Goodluck Jonathan, in realisation of this vital missing link, has in the past two years, worked assiduously to provide a new legal and regulatory framework for competition and consumer protection.”
He added, “The needs and benefits of a national policy for competition and consumer protection are many. These include encouraging enterprise, innovation, efficiency and widening of choice.
“This will in turn address cartel-like entities, anti-competition tendencies, protect the investing public and consumers; enable consumers to buy the goods and services they want at the best possible price; thus contributing to the country’s national competitiveness.”
According to the minister, there is currently a draft Federal Executive Competition and Consumer Protection Bill being considered by the Federal Executive Council for onward transmission to the National Assembly for passage into law.
“The draft bill delineates the institutions, laws, regulations, orders, rulings and other implementation and enforcement tools that will allow competition and consumer protection matters to be dealt with,” he noted.
Aganga explained that it was the urgent need to spell out a policy framework to regulate consumer protection and competition issues that compelled the Federal Government to come up with the new Competition and Consumer Protection Policy.

In her remarks, the Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, said the new policy would act as a deterrent against anti-competitiveness practices and ensure that consumers got value for their money.
She said, “The absence of Competition and Consumer Protection Policy in Nigeria over the years has set us back as a country but the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is set to reverse the trend so that Nigeria can join the comity of nations where there is a Competition and Consumer Protection Policy to guide the manufacturers and service providers.
“This will ensure that consumers get value for their money because the consumer is the king. The policy will also provide appropriate sanctions for anti-competitive practices by business organisations.”


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