Proposed Exclusive Dealing Arrangement by Blantyre Water Board

On 26th October, 2020, the Commission commenced investigations against Blantyre Water Board for alleged anticompetitive business practices in carrying out trade in goods, services and works.

The Complainant alleged that, he applied for new water connection at Blantyre Water Board(BWB) and paid a connection fee. He was thereafter provided with two suppliers from which he could source the water connection materials.

The Complainant further alleged that, he was warned that unless he produced a receipt from one of the suppliers, his application for water connection would not be processed.

The Complainant felt that this conduct of providing names of suppliers by BWBwas restricting competition and subjecting consumers to high prices and leaving them with no alternative choice hence sought the intervention of the Commission on the matter.

The investigation established that BWB does not engage in Exclusive Dealing Arrangement with suppliers of water connection materials.

The investigation also established that BWB advertises the invitation to prequalification of suppliers in widely circulated newspapers annually in order to allow eligible suppliers or bidders to participate in the prequalification process. Therefore, they do not engage in the alleged anti-competitive business practice.

However, the investigation established that the prequalification of the suppliers helps BWB to improve its efficiencies. The investigation observed that customers could benefit from the system however, consumers should be allowed to select a supplier of their choice as long as the supplier is able to supply materials which meet the technical specifications sought by BWB.

Following deliberations, the Commission resolved among others that the Respondent should allow Consumers to buy the water connection materials from other sources as long as the materials meet the required technical specifications.