By Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry
LAHORE: Chairperson Competition Commission of Pakistan Ms. Rahat Kaunain said that complete implementation on competition laws will reduce the prices of essential items 25 to 30 percent, ends the cartel of different sectors and convert the Pakistan’s economy into a functional economy.
Addressing to the members of Lahore Economic Journalist Association discussion program here on Monday, she believed that need enforcement of the competition laws in crisis situation such like Pakistan passing through is more necessary. Presidnt LEJA Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry is also there. The competition laws protect the consumers’ interests and make consumers day to day life easy. An effective enforcement in the only way to protect the consumers. She asked for making a National Competition Policy to create awareness among the stakeholders. Furthermore, a regulatory tribunal should be established which will deal the cases related with the regulators. This will speed up disposing off the cases with the regulators and improve overall investment and business environment.
Sharing the details of different inquiries against the cartels and uncompetitive behaviors of various sectors, Rahat pointed out the non-cooperation of the State Bank of Pakistan in T-Bills Auction Inquiry. She mentioned that the commercial banks are cooperating with the CCP but the central bank is not providing the required details. The banks invested 55 to 75 percent of its deposited amount in the government T-Bills auctions during the inquiry period under view which are against the required banking laws, she added. Further, she also highlighted irregular fluctuations in bank base rates in the Auctions.
Rahat said that the CCP could be more effective with the support of the other government regulators. Mutual cooperation of the all government regulators is vital for improved service delivery of the government for the public.
On cement sector inquiry, she mentioned that for South region (Punjab and KP) cement plants its completed and for North region (Sindh and Balochistan), All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association took stay from the Court, which was not vacated even after 24 dates. Further, the inquiry of Distribution Companies (DISCOS) procurement of raw materials (Transformers, Streel Structures, Meter and Cables) through tenders are underway. The Supreme Court of Pakistan decision in poultry industry price cartel is a very positive and it will pave way for future decisions, she added.
Similarly, the CCP has initiated an inquiry of 6 mega players of property and real estate of Islamabad-Rawalpindi on deceptive marketing of ensuring upto 400 percent returns to the investments made in their projects. The CCP will expand the scope of this inquiry to other parts of the country after completion of it, she added.
However, Rahat believed that ending the ‘Land Banking’ for the economic growth of Pakistan. People invests in the plots and properties with guaranteed growth and returns so that other sectors remained unattractive for investment. Further, this land banking has been massively changing the landscape of the country which need to stop. The government should facilitate and incentives the other sectors so the people will invest there and discouraged investments in real estate and property business through policy regulations, she added.
Rahat mentioned that price fixation in the fertilizer sector is possible which ultimately affect the all the agriculture produce and consumers. The inquiry of the Automobile sector is also underway. She mentioned that the Pakistan is lagging far behind from India on safety regulations of automobiles. Indian automobile ensuring over 70 percent safety regulations in vehicles while Pakistan is still stood at 11 percent.
CCP had recommended the provincial governments to come out of the wheat regulations and procurement business due to huge loopholes in the whole process of wheat procurement to quota distributions to the flour mills. The current circular debt of wheat management of the provincial governments crossed Rs 550 billion volume which is alarming. REPORT