Fair trading body looks to regulators for teamwork


08-April-2013

Mr Gappy addressing delegates at the workshop

This emerged when the FTC met with stakeholders recently to discuss the findings of a peer review conducted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

Unctad sent a two-man delegation headed by Alex Kububa, chairman of the Comesa competition commission, to visit Seychelles last year in October. Their mission was to review the legislation governing competition and consumer protection and see how they could better benefit all stakeholders and further contribute to Seychelles’ economic development and growth.

The FTC’s main aims are to encourage competition in trade and business, to ensure that all valid business enterprises have an equal chance to take part in the economy and also to give consumers better services and a wide range of goods at the best possible prices.

The findings of the report were positive overall, with only a few areas where the existing legislation may need to be amended.
Unctad commended the FTC for going through the peer review process at such an early stage of its development.

The then chief executive of the FTC, Daniel Gappy, said the input gained from the stakeholders meeting would be invaluable in putting the competition and consumer policy framework together. “We will look at the different sectors and their laws and see where there is any legal reference to competition. We will then streamline the processes in place to benefit consumers.”

Mr Gappy said that this would be easier for some sectors than others. “If you look for example at the telecommunications and banking sectors, both of these have consumers who they are dealing with, so we have to sit down with them and see what needs to be done.”

Mr Gappy said the findings of the report required cohesive action from the relevant stakeholders. “We have gone through the findings and we feel that at present it is not necessary to repeal the law, but we will need to make amendments wherever we have found conflict in the legislation.”

Mr Hassan Qaqaya, the head of the Unctad competition and consumer policies branch, said that one of the most critical parts of what his organisation does in the peer review process is to make sure that markets work in the interests of both business and consumers.

Mr Qaqaya said that the FTC in requesting the peer review seeks to answer whether it is giving the public value for their money, assessing their effectiveness both internally and externally, their ability to address the issues of consumers and whether its powers are far-reaching enough.

“These questions are critical, and this is why the peer review process is very important. Even after three years, it is important to step back and assess the progress made.”

“Many anti-competitive practices disproportionately affect the poor,” said Mr Qaqaya. “If you open the markets that were closed before, you often find that some state-owned enterprises still have certain advantages over others or you have dominant players engaged in activities to exclude others, clearly all these things reflect on prices and the choice of goods you have in the market. At the end of it, consumers end up paying – and consumers matter because all of us are consumers.”

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