The business communities in Kano and Kaduna have called on the National Assembly to hasten deliberations towards the passage of the Competition Bill into law.
The businessmen and women in the two states emphasised the importance of the bill in a joint statement released yesterday.
According to them, “the absence of Competition Law is causing too many irregularities in the market environment. In the statement, the business community noted some of the problems thriving as a result of an absence of the Competition Bill.
Some of the issues they highlighted include price fixing by a dominant firm or by a group of firms in concert; allocation and restriction of markets along geographical or product lines; exclusion of particular dealers or suppliers; collusive tendering or bid rigging; forming and operating exclusive cartels to keep new entrants away from the market, and all other practices that seek to take advantage of the consumer.
The press statement noted that there is currently no Legislation or Regulation dedicated solely to market competition issues in Nigeria. They drew attention to the fact that none of the numerous Bills before the National Assembly on the subject have been passed into Law.
The release stated that with the current economic situation in the country, the Competition Bill will bring and enforce regulations that would greatly benefit the wobbling economy and re-engage the market systems to thrive.
According to the statement, “in the light of the economic recession, it is imperative that the Competition Bill be passed with utmost speed. “
The statement also argued that since the bill, if enacted into law, would promote job creation and investments, it deserves priority attention by the lawmakers.
The statement warned, however, that since the many previous attempts to get the bill passed into law have not been successful, a more proactive attempt has to be made to push the bill passed legislation and into a working law.
In the statement, the business community buttressed the indispensability of the Competition Bill. They stated that the bill would safeguard the free market system and checkmate its breakdown.
“The bill would basically promote and protect a transparent market free of monopoly and unfair business practices. lt would also discourage and prevent price or rate fixing, price discrimination, hoarding, restrictive exclusive contracts, abuse of a dominant market position, predatory pricing practices, conspiratorial pricing between some competitors against other competitors, and other practices that combat free market practices.”
The statement emphasised that the Competition Bill would not only serve as the life blood of the market but would be beneficial to both consumers and producers. As advantage to consumers, the statement asserted that the Competition Bill would bring a downward pressure on prices as well as create avenues for consumers to have market options.
For producers, the statement said the Competition Bill would bring regulations and reforms that would energise the market and cause innovation in new products and services.
The bill will prohibit all agreements or contracts between companies aimed at restricting or eliminating competition in a given market, thus eliminate the abuse of dominant market position that certain dominant companies wield over smaller organisations or new entrants into the market.
The bill will also regulate mergers and acquisitions to ensure that competition is not eliminated by the merging of two or more firms.
Through this statement, the business community in Kano and Kaduna clamoured for the long overdue Competition Bill that would regulate and reform the market system and structure in Nigeria.