The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) wishes to inform the business community and consumers that it has opened a Regional Office in Blantyre. The offices are situated in the New Government buildings, 3rd Floor, Right Wing in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism offices.
The Regional Office will register and process consumer complaints with a view to providing remedies provided under the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Additionally, the office will also support the business community in the promotion of voluntary compliance with CFTA and CPA.
In view of this, the Commission wishes to appeal to consumers and the business community in Blantyre and the surrounding districts to make use of our Regional Office in the South to access our services.
However, the postal and physical address for the Secretariat remains the same. The Executive Director, 1st Floor Mpikisano House, Off Mandala Street, P/Bag 332, Lilongwe 3; Tel: +2651759506/7; Toll Free Line (MTL): 80008333
CHARLOTTE WEZI MALONDA
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission wishes to inform the general public that health authorities in South Africa have ordered an immediate recall of ALL processed meat products produced in South Africa. (Source: https://www.enca.com/south-africa/supermarkets-begin-mass-meat-recall)
According to published media reports, the recalled products are processed meat products that are sold ready to eat (also known as polony), which are produced by Tiger Brands Unit - Enterprise Food and RCL Foods. These products are sold within South Africa as well as exported to other countries.
The World Bank Group and the International Competition Network (ICN) has named the Competition and Fair Trading Commission of Malawi as winner of the 2017/18 Competition Advocacy Contest.
Held under the theme “Closing the gap through competition advocacy: microeconomic policies, macroeconomic implications”, the contest was aimed at highlighting the key role competition agencies play in promoting competition by showcasing their advocacy success stories.
The CFTC entry into the competition advocacy contest was a story that underlined the importance competition authorities play in ensuring that the effects of trade protection measures benefit competition and ultimately safeguard consumer welfare, with a case study of the cement industry in Malawi.
The CFTC intervention in the cement industry in Malawi contributed to the prevention of the establishment of import barriers to cement.
Making the announcement, Martha Martinez Licetti, Global Lead on Markets and Competition Policy at the World Bank Group, said the CFTC's advocacy story was selected as Winner under the theme “Reaping the benefits of globalisation and trade openness”.
“This is a great story in a key market that is typically subject to competition issues. Your intervention illustrates the benefits of the involvement of competition authorities in the decision on trade protection measures, and the importance both locally and regionally. Great example to share in the region and beyond. Well-deserved and keep up the good work.”
Reacting to the announcement, CFTC Executive Director, Charlotte Wezi Malonda said she was delighted with the recognition which she described as a big victory.
Malonda said the entry of foreign companies in the cement industry led to relatively lower prices as consumers enjoyed the benefits from economies of scale and efficient production systems.
Other winners in the competition from a total of 50 entries from 30 jurisdictions include the United Kingdom, Kenya, Brazil, Russia and Argentina while the European Competition Commission and Mexico received an honorable mention.
This is the third time that the World Bank and the ICN have recognized the CFTC in its role in safeguarding competition. In 2015 and 2016, the CFTC was awarded for its role in safeguarding competition in the sugar and credit referencing markets.
Locally, last year, the CFTC was awarded for its outstanding public service delivery for the second year running. The Commission has also received other performance related awards from the Anti Corruption Bureau and the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI).
The festive season to commemorate Christmas and the New Year brings a lot of excitement and joy to consumers. Usually, traders announce a range of promotions, including massive discounts on products and services.
Some promotions may be genuine while others are not in good faith. Further, some traders will want to increase sales by engaging in some unfair trading practices. These practices are those which adopt any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice for the purpose of promoting the sale, use, supply or provision of goods and services. Some promotions are deceptive and harmful to consumers as traders strive to cheat consumers through false and misleading representations.
On 5th December 2017, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission will lead Malawian consumers in commemorating this year’s World Competition Day.
The Day is commemorated annually to rally support and create awareness regarding the role that consumers play in shaping an effective competitive trading regime.
The commemoration of this day dates back to 5th December, 1980 when the United Nations adopted the international standard for competition laws called the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices.
The main event to commemorate the day will take place in Blantyre under the Theme “Fight Bid Rigging in Public Procurement, Grow the Economy”. Bid rigging involves a group of firms that conspire to raise prices or pre-designate bid winners with the aim of maximising their own profits.
The theme has been purposefully chosen in acknowledgement of the important role that efficient public procurement systems can play in fostering social and economic development. Studies have shown that about 40% of the Government's annual budget is spent on public procurement of goods and services that are used to deliver public services to the citizenry. Studies have further shown that improvement in public procurement systems can help the Malawi Government save about US$24 million per year.
Therefore, the Commission reckons that an agenda to detect, report, mitigate and fight bid rigging would save a lot of money for the country’s development.
In line with provisions of the Competition and Fair Trading Act, the Commission will investigate all complaints of suspected bid rigging in the market and impose appropriate sanctions to offenders.
The Commission is appealing to all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, private sector, consumers, NGOs, international institutions and the general public to join hands in commemorating the 2017 World Competition Day.
Activities on the Day will include a consumer parade from College of Medicine to Trade Fair Grounds, traditional dances from Chichiri Prison Troupe, poetry and drama. The event will be presided over by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Hon Henry Mussa, MP.
Charlotte Wezi Malonda
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission is a public agency charged with the responsibility to promote competition and fair trading in Malawi through the enforcement of the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act. In its effort to fight fraud and corruption in the country, the Government of Malawi put a requirement that every public institution should establish an Institutional Integrity Committee (IIC) responsible for spearheading the fight against fraud and corruptionby staff, clients and stakeholders when transacting any business. The Commission’s IIC, in collaboration with the Anticorruption Bureau (ACB), has so far facilitated awareness meetings and trainings for the committee members and staff; and has also developed the Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy.
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission has been accepted as a partner of the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) with effect from the 2017/18 financial year.
ICPEN is a membership organization consisting of consumer protection law enforcement authorities from across the world. ICPEN provides a forum for developing and maintaining regular contact between consumer protection agencies and focusing on consumer protection concerns.
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission has noted with great concern that some retail chain stores have a tendency to withhold change from consumers or offer them sweets in lieu of change.
The withheld change is usually in the following denominations - Twenty Malawi Kwacha; Ten Malawi Kwacha; Five Malawi Kwacha and One Malawi Kwacha among others.
The Commission would like to inform all Retailers that the practice of withholding change from consumers or offering them sweets in lieu of change is unfair, unreasonable and unconscionable as it leaves consumers worse off than they were before the transaction. All Retailers have an obligation to have all denominations of Malawi's legal tender to facilitate fair trading conditions for consumers and the market at large.
Section 43(1)(g) of the Competition and Fair Trading Act makes it an offence for any person to engage in unconscionable conduct in carrying out trade in goods and services.
In view of this, the Commission wishes to appeal to all Retailers to cease and desist from unfair trading practices such as withholding change from consumers. Appropriate penalties will be imposed on any Retailer found withholding change from consumers or offering them sweets in lieu of change.
CHARLOTTE WEZI MALONDA (MRS)