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The Malawi Parliament passed the Competition and Fair Trading Act in 1998 to create a legal basis for promoting competition and fair trading and to provide strong incentives for achieving economic efficiency, innovation and ensure that production of goods and services responds to consumer demands.

The enactment of the Act followed implementation of economic reforms in 1980s and 1990s that resulted in lessening of government control over business and operations (deregulation); removal of restrictive business policies (liberalisation); and selling of commercial businesses that were being operated by government (privatisation).

The Act sought to achieve the following objectives;

  • To encourage competition in the economy, by prohibiting anti-competitive trade practices;
  • To establish the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC);
  • To regulate and monitor monopolies and concentrations of economic power;
  • To protect consumer welfare;
  • To strengthen the efficiency of production and distribution of goods and services; to secure the best possible conditions for the freedom of trade; to facilitate the expansion of the base of entrepreneurship and to provide for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.

In line with this, the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) was established in 2005 following the appointment of the Board of Commissioners and the setting up of an interim Secretariat under the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

In October 2012, government approved the establishment of the Commission as a fully-fledged statutory corporation as provided for under Section 4 of the Competition and Fair Trading Act, Cap 48:09 of the Laws of Malawi. Accordingly, effective 1st July 2013, the Commission is funded directly from the national budget. The total establishment for the Commission is 22.