The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has ordered Game Stores to cease and desist from engaging in prohibited unfair trading practices. This follows investigations the Commission conducted which established that the company engaged in misleading advertising by offering massive price discounts on products that were out of stock in violation of the Competition and Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Protection Act. The Commission heard that, between September and October 2013, Game Stores advertised price discounts on external hard drives that were out of stock at the time the promotion started.
Since August 2013, a total of six advocacy workshops have been held in the three major cities of Malawi targeting CEOs in the private sector as well as business journalists. The private Dr Chigona delivering the opening address sector workshop for the Southern region was officially opened by Commissioner Jimmy Lipunga while in the Central region, Commissioner In his address, Lipunga reiterated the importance of competition in the economy “Competition gives rise to a more efficient allocation and utilization of resources and promotes consumer welfare through competitive prices for goods and services.
Representatives from the Competition and Fair Trading Commission participated in the 5th annual Africa Dialogue Conference on Consumer Protection in Livingstone, Zambia from 10-12 September 2013. Held under the theme “Moving cross border collaboration forward”, the conference provided an informal platform for networking among consumer protection agencies in Africa. Topics covered at the conference included mobile technologies, cyber-threats, financial and credit issues.
Mrs Charlotte Wezi Malonda attended the 40th Annual Conference on International Anti-trust Law & Policy held at Fordham Law School in New York from 26-27 September 2013. Speaking to CFT News on return, Malonda said the conference provided an important platform for competition authorities, academia and the judiciary to discuss and exchange experiences on enforcement and administration of their respective competition law and policy.
For effective implementation of Competition and Fair Trading Act, the Commission is in the process of reviewing CFT regulations. The review will focus on providing clarity on some of the provisions of the Act. The review will be done in collaboration with the British Office of Fair Trading with financial support from the Investment Facility for Utilising Specialist UK Expertise (IFUSE). IFUSE supplies specialist government-to-government expertise to support business environment improvement in DFID’s partner countries and other countries eligible for UK development assistance.
Capacity constraints have been one of the key problems hindering effective performance of most competition authorities in developing countries, including Malawi. One of the function of the Competition and Fair Trading Commission is to determine whether to authorize or reject mergers so as to minimise their anti competitive effects while maximizing the words of one of the World Bank Group Vice Presidents will be true for the Commission that “…effective enforcement of competition rules across sectors—rather than the pure existence of competition laws—makes a difference in the impact of competition policies”.
The advocacy and education campaign by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission is gain- ing real momentum. Following successful advocacy workshops held with the judiciary, private sector, sector regulators and the media, the Commission is taking the campaign to tertiary institutions of learning. The first destination is the Law faculty at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.