Kulisewa makes a point during the surgeries
The Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) have partnered to protect consumers in the financial sector.
The two regulators have so far jointly conducted financial sector surgeries in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre to sensitise players in the financial sector including commercial banks, insurance companies and micro financial institutions about their duties towards consumers. The surgeries were conducted from 25-29 September 2017.
Opening surgeries in Lilongwe, RBM chief examiner, Madalitso Chamba, underscored the importance of consumer protection in the sector.
“The principle of treating consumers fairly, means that financial institutions must pay due regard to the interests of the customers and not engage in unfair business practices,” said Chamba encouraging the institutions to be transparent and fully disclose all the risks as well as rewards of their products.
Making his presentation, CFTC Director of Consumer Welfare and Education, Lewis Kulisewa said it is mandatory for financial service providers to provide consumers with true, adequate, clear and prompt information on the goods and services offered.
"Unfair contract terms, misrepresentation of financial services and deceptive advertising were common infringements of consumer protection laws in the financial sector. The Commission will impose fines and other relevant orders, in accordance with the law, to any financial service provider found causing consumer harm", said Kulisewa.
He then appealed to participants to embrace the culture of voluntarily complying with consumer protection laws at all times as good corporate citizens.In August 2014, the CFTC signed a cooperation agreement with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi and Registrar of Financial Institutions aimed at addressing potential overlaps between the functions of the three regulators.
A cross section of the particpants in Blantyre
The Commission has general powers to foster competition and fair trading under the CFTA while the RBM has specific powers in relation to the promotion of a sound financial structure and fostering highest standard of conduct, fair trading, efficiency and orderliness in the financial sector including payment systems.
Chiputula making a presentation
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), on Friday 12th May, 2017, conducted a Competition Law Lecture at Malawi Assemblies of God University in Lilongwe which was attended by about 80 students doing various programmes at the university.
In his opening remarks, Business Management Senior Lecturer, Kondwani Manda welcomed the Commission for taking an initiative to conduct a Competition Law lecture at their University.
“Let me thank the Commission for coming to the university to conduct the lecture. We believe that after the lecture we will understand more about completion and consumer protection law in Malawi,” said Manda.
During the lecture CFTC Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, Richard Chiputula made a presentation on the background of competition law policy in Malawi, the legislative framework of CFTC, appointment of commissioners and composition, establishment of secretariat, regulatory role of the Commission, investigative function, adjudicative role of commissioners, core functions of the Commission and penalties.
Speaking during the lecture Chiputula said the purpose of the lecture was to disseminate information to consumers so that they are empowered.
After the presentation, students asked on various issues. Some of the questions included on merger assessment, and proliferation of counterfeits.
In his closing remarks, CFTC Director of Consumer Welfare and Education, Lewis Kulisewa thanked the management of university for granting Commission the opportunity to conduct a Competition Law Lecture at their University and the students for their active participation.Kulisewa emphasises a point as Chiputula looks on
Speaking after the Lecture, Manda appreciated the lecture conducted by CFTC. He alluded to how important being an empowered consumer is as he shared his experience.
This was the 11th lecture in a series of lectures to public and private Universities.The lecture series is in recognition of the fact that university students command a lot of influence within their communities as a reservoir of knowledge and would be instrumental in influencing certain trends and conducts in this dynamic field.
A group photo of participants at the launch
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), on 24th March 2017, launched Braille IEC materials to ensure that the visually impaired have access to and understand competition and consumer protection issues.
Speaking during the launch of the materials at Montfort Special Needs College in Chiradzulu, CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Wezi Malonda noted that although the Commission has been distributing IEC materials to every district in Malawi, the IEC materials were inaccessible to the visually impaired.
Participants to the Competition Law Lecture
To ensure that students are well versed with competition and consumer protection issues, on 23rd March, 2017 the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) conducted a competition law lecture at the Catholic University. This was the 10th lecture in a series of lectures to public and private universities.
Speaking during the lecture which was attended by over 200 students, CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Wezi Malonda thanked the University for giving the Commission an opportunity to talk to the students about competition and consumer protection issues.
Parade during Consumer Rights Day
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission on Wednesday, 15th March 2017, led consumers and traders in the country in celebrating the World Consumer Rights Day under the theme ”Consumer Rights in the Digital Age”.
The celebrations, which took place in Lilongwe, started with a consumers’ parade, from Simama Hotel to Lilongwe City Mall (Game Complex), where the main event took place.
Participants to the public lecture pose for a group photo
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), on 27th and 28th October 2016 respectively, delivered public lectures on competition and consumer protection at Exploits University and Pentecostal Life University in Lilongwe.
Among other issues, the lecture focused on regulatory role of the Commission, CFTC’s investigative function, anti competitive practices, regulation of mergers and consumer protection.
Speaking during the lectures, CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Wezi Malonda said the CFTA is an Act which aims to encourage competition in the economy by prohibiting anti-competitive trade practices and to protect consumer welfare.
Director of Consumer Welfare and Education Lewis Kulisewa (L) responds to a question as Malonda (R) listens
“The overall function of the Commission is to regulate, monitor, control and prevent acts or behaviour which are likely to adversely affect competition and fair trading in Malawi,” Said Malonda.
Specifically the CFTC carries out investigations on its own initiative or based on a complaint, provides advisory role on rights and duties under Act and consumer education and undertakes market studies.
Speaking after the function, Exploits Executive Dean of Commerce Madalitso Mukiwa said the lecture was important as it explained some of the concepts that the students learn during their programmes.
Allan McCormick of Pentecostal Life University invited the CFTC for another lecture in the near future,
“We really appreciate the CFTC’s visit and lecture. This was an important lecture as it has simplified some of the principles that the students have problems understanding,” said McCormick.
The CFTC introduced public lecture series in both public and private universities in 2013. Since then, the Commission has done public lectures at Chancellor College and the Malawi Polytechnic, Seventh Day Adventist University, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mzuzu University, Catholic University of Malawi and Blantyre International University.
Exploits University was established in 2010 and offersboth undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the Faculty of Commerce. Pentecostal Life University is a private Christian University founded in 2013 and offers Ph.D, Masters, Bachelors and Diploma programmes.
Chiputula speaking during a business clinic, earlier
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has said the insurance industry in Malawi has a high market concentration, a situation which signifies that market power in the industry can be abused.
CFTC Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, Richard Chiputula presenting a paper in Mangochi at the 2016 Annual Conference for the Insurance Institute of Malawi, noted that both general and life insurance markets in the country are concentrated.