The Consumer and Fair Trading Commission ( CFTC), a body corporate established under the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA), says the CFTA is aimed at improving market efficiency, economic growth and protecting consumer welfare.
The CFTC is mandated to regulate, monitor, control and prevent acts or behavior which are likely to adversely affect competition and fair trading in Malawi.
The presentation made by their Chief Legal Officer, Peter Mota during the sensitization workshop in Dowa, indicated that mergers impact on competition and the economic well – being of consumers as they result in reduction of competition, or fluctuation of prices.
Mota said enterprises must seek authorization from the Commission to effect a merger or take over, and without that, the merger has no legal effect.
Seeking further information regarding the impact of the Law and enforcement framework of the same in the country, Senior Competition Analyst, Fexter Katungwe said Competition and Consumer Protection Laws regulate market activities that are conducted every day, so the impact is immerse.
Katungwe said if our markets function efficiently, we will have less restrictive business practices, more mergers, enhanced consumer welfare, which will be good for our economy.
” We are all consumers, some people are traders, and District Council officials are part of the regulatory framework at decentralized level, so we all have a role to play in the enforcement of the laws”, said Katungwe.
Further, it was submitted that the CFTA and Consumer Protection Act regulate unfair trading practices such as non – issuance of receipts, not displaying prices of products, insufficient labelling including no expiry date labels, supply of expired products, underweight products and offering of prizes with no intention of supplying them, among others .
The CFTA officials urged consumers to report any unfair trading practices to the Commission, and they pledged to act on the complaints to facilitate redress such as refund or exchange of faulty products, amongst others.
The participants of the workshop were also enlightened that the penalties for non compliance to any provisions of the laws, is a fine of K500,000, or of an amount equivalent to the financial gain generated by the offence if such amount is greater, and imprisonment for 5 years.
Giving his remarks at the end of the function on behalf of the District Commissioner, Dowa District Council’s Director of Administration, Bonface Macheka , appreciated the CFTC initiative and called for the need of continuous sensitization for the general public to know what to do when duped and where one can report to.
Macheka expressed hope that the collaborative enforcement of Competition and Fair Trading Act, and Consumer Protection Act will protect the citizens including Dowa district residents from various anti competitive and unfair trading conducts including supply of counterfeit products by traders.