ISLAMABAD (INP): Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar here Monday, asked Chairman Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to ensure fair play in the consumer goods market besides exercising its authority to ward off cartelization and monopolistic trends and discourage deceptive marketing practices.
“The common man should receive the benefit of the provisions of competition laws”, the Minister emphasized.
He was chairing a meeting with a delegation from the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) to review its performance and address the issues it has been facing in undertaking its functions.
Dr. Joseph Wilson, acting Chairman of the CCP, briefed the Minister about the performance of the Commission since the promulgation of the Competition Ordinance 2007. Giving a detailed presentation to participants of the meeting, the chairman said undoubtedly the objective of CCP is to provide a healthy competitive environment in all spheres of commercial and economic activity to enhance economic efficiency. He also cited the remedial measures taken and inquiries conducted by CCP regarding ill practices in different sectors. He said CCP’s efforts to open and encourage competition in aviation market led to reduction in Haj fares resulting in an estimated 6 billion rupees in consumer savings in 2013 alone.
Senator Dar said, whenever there is an increase in the price of any commodity, such as oil, the general market trend is to take extra charges from the end customers, a negative practice which should be shunned. He also cited the example of potatoes whose prices had remained rather high in the market in recent months despite facilitation by the Government for tax/duty free import of the vegetable. The Minister said, it were areas like these where the CCP needed to firmly put its foot down and exercise vigilance. He said the Government is now eager to ascertain whether or not the CCP has been able to achieve the major objective of consumer protection and facilitation for which it was created.
The Minister said, although the CCP had taken action in various cases to thwart business and commercial malpractices but unfortunately the big wigs and top notches always found a way to escape punitive action. He emphasized coordination between CCP and other regulatory bodies for effective functioning. The performance of the Appellate Tribunal of CCP was also discussed on the occasion.
Responding to Chairman CCP’s contention about human resource gap and financial constraints, the Minister said CCP may put up proposals for hiring new personnel and self-finance which would be duly considered. Self-finance, the Minister said, would be the best way to resolve the financial issues faced by CCP.
The meeting was attended by Secretary Finance, Dr. Waqar Masood, Advisor Finance Division, Rana Assad Amin, Special Assistant to Finance Minister and Additional Secretary, External Finance, Shahid Mahmood, Additional Secretary Internal Finance, Mr. Akbar Sharifzada besides other officials of Finance Division and CCP.
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