commission needed to implement competition law
The Daily Star,
Bangladesh, July 03, 2012
Implementation of the
competition law is only possible under an independent and powerful
commission,speakers said at a seminar yesterday.
The government will need a strong political will to properly
select the members of the commission and allow them to work
independently, they said.
The Competition Law 2012 that got passage in parliament last month
is aimed at ensuring a healthy competition in business practices
by breaking cartels and syndicates that often manipulate markets.
Bangladesh has a number of commissions but those became inactive
or could not create trust, they added.
They were speaking at an international conference on “moving the
competition law agenda forward in Bangladesh: possible
implementation concerns” at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the city.
The law also aims to help promote economic development of the
country by creating a better environment for the private sector in
terms of efficiency in production and pricing decisions and
benefit both consumers and producers.
The government will form Bangladesh Competition Commission to
ensure a competitive environment in the market, according to the
Leading businessman Syed Manzur Elahi said confidence of the
stakeholders grows only when right people are seen in the right
In a panel discussion, he said businesspeople are aware of the tax
ombudsman but they do not go there due to a lack of confidence in
Commerce Minister Ghulam Muhammed Quader inaugurated the seminar
jointly organised by development agencies Unnayan Shamannay and
CUTS International with the support of IFC-BICF, an institution of
the World Bank Group.
The minister said most of the aspects regarding competition have
been covered by the law. "It's pro-people and pro-business," he
said, adding that the law is not too complicated to be understood.
Awareness of the people is required to implement the law, he
The law has provision for imposing a bar on any individual from
signing any agreement with a producer of any commodity or service
that may have a negative impact or create a monopoly or oligopoly.
Upon investigation, the commission can order the individual to
refrain from signing such an agreement or misusing any power. It
may also impose a fine on individuals if found guilty.
An individual may be punished with a jail term of a maximum of one
year for violation of any order of the commission or a fine of Tk
1 lakh per day for the number of days it fails to comply with the
order, according to the law.
About the complicacies in the implementation of the competition
law, Pradeep S Mehta, secretary general of CUTS International,
said there are always some ambiguities in countries for multiple
regulatory authorities' common interests.
Giving an example, he said the competition commission's jobs may
overlap with that of the power and energy regulatory commission or
the telecom commission.
Bangladesh can learn about the implementation of the law from the
neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan, said Mehta who
was involved in drafting the Indian competition law.
Iftekhar Hossain, economic adviser to the UK's Department for
International Development (DFID), said responsibility of a welfare
government lies with the establishment of a competitive
environment for doing business.
The competition law is needed to improve productivity, innovation
and new entrepreneurship, said Prof William Kovacic, former
commissioner at Federal Trade Commission of the USA.
Steve Jobs became Apple's chief executive though he started
business from a garage, Kovacic said, adding that Jobs could
succeed as the US market was competitive for new innovations.
Lawmaker Fazle Rabbi Miah and Trustee of Gonoshasthya Kendra
Zafarullah Chowdhury also spoke.
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