… sensitises estate agents against quoting in foreign currency
The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC), from 18th to 22nd July 2016 conducted business clinics across the country to sensitise traders about restrictive business and unfair trading practices.
Specifically, the business clinics were conducted in Blantyre, Lunzu, Neno in the Southern region, Ntchisi, Mponela, Mchinji in Central region and Dwangwa, Mzuzu and Mzimba.
Speaking at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre during a business clinic attended by over fifty estate agents drawn from the Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA), Director of Consumer Welfare and Education, Lewis Kulisewa commended delegates for their overwhelming response and quest for information about competition and consumer protection law
“Competition law enforcement has multiple benefits to the economy. Not only does it guarantee a level playing field for business prosperity, competition law enforcement is beneficial to safeguarding consumer welfare.
"This is the reason why the Commission organised the business clinics to sensitise traders and help them voluntarily comply with the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
"For real estate agents, it is important that they should guard against blatant violations of the law. Examples of such violations include hard core cartel behaviour such as setting commissions or prices to be charged and quoting for services in foreign exchange without authorisation".
Section 37 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act makes it mandatory for suppliers or traders of technology, goods or services to indicate clearly in local currency and exhibit to the public the price of any technology, goods and services, unless an express exemption applies under any written law.
Participants to the Business Clinic for Estate Agents
Additionally, under Regulation 2 of the Exchange Control Act, Chapter 45:01 of the Laws of Malawi, no person is allowed to quote or accept quotation of prices for payment in foreign currency and demand or make payment in foreign currency, for goods or services sold or provided in Malawi.
Speaking on behalf of the traders in Blantyre, Association of Real Estate Agents (AREA) chairperson, Ken Msonda said they had learnt a lot from the business clinic.
“As estate agents, we should avoid misleading advertising, misrepresentation and quoting and charging in foreign currency,” said Msonda.
During the Clinics held in the nine centres, over four hundred traders were sensitized on topics such as roles and functions of the Commission,restrictive trade practices and misuse of market power. They were also sensitized on obligations of traders and suppliers and unfair trading practices.