Coalition seeks support for passage of Competition and Consumer Bill

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Lagos  –   A private sector advocacy coalition for the passage
of the Competition and Consumer Bill, now before the National Assembly, has
called for the quick passage of the bill, to help to regulate the market and boost
investments in the country.

Members of the group made the call in an interactive session with the
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.

The group’s consultant, Mr Goddy Ikeh, said that the quick passage of the
law would introduce a level playing field in the Nigerian business environment
and boost employment in the country.

“We want media support to ensure that this law is passed by the National Assembly
because It does not allow for monopoly. It will also improve the quality of goods and attract
more international investors into the nation’s business sector.

“If the law is passed, a foreign investor can then begin to feel free to invest in\ any
business in the country, because the competition law will guard against the emergence of
a monopoly in the nation’s business sphere.

Ike also said that many foreign investors would certainly take advantage of the law, if enacted, as
there was no law at the moment protecting the investments of foreign investor’s in the country.

He noted that the competition law, if enacted, would also help to deepen the nation’s Privatisation
process, bring about a better enabling environment for businesses to flourish, create room for
innovation and also help to reduce prices.
“It will also assist Nigerian businesses and investors to be able to hold their own against
global competitors,’’ he said.

The group’s consultant also explained that there would be a regulatory body or a commission,
under the law, to monitor the activities of investors and guard against any abuse of privileges.

“There will be government agencies to ensure that standards are met. Only those who have planned
well and are adopting global best practices will be able to remain in business, because there will be
competition in all aspects of the business environment,’’ he said.

Mr Steve Nnakife, a leader of the coalition, said that the competition law was not against big investors
taking over smaller ones, but that bigger investors must give opportunity for upcoming businesses to thrive.

“The aim of the competition law is to give people the opportunity to explore competition, encourage businesses
to adopt global best practices, improve the quality of their goods and services and expand their market share,’’ he said.

The group’s consultant added that the coalition was campaigning for the passage of the bill because of the numerous
businesses that were privatised in the country in the recent past, and to enhance the nation’s business arena.

“Nigeria requires a healthy competition law to regulate its market. The ratification of the law will create
a level playing field in the nation’s business environment and enhance predictability and certainty, which will
in turn stimulate job creation and foster economic growth,’’ Ike said.

The group leader said that the bill presently before the National Assembly had been delayed largely
because of the misconception of its aims and objectives.
According to him, several efforts have been made in the last 16 years to ensure the passage of the bill.

“You know that if a particular session of the National Assembly is unable to enact a particular law, you have
to begin the process all over again with the next. That is one of the issues causing the lingering delay in the
passage of the bill,’’ he added.
Ike said that four bills on the same subject were before the National Assembly who are expected to harmonise
them into an acceptable competition law.

Miss Elizabeth Adu, a Representative of the Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), said
that the law would also ensure that investors always adhered to best practices, so that they do not
lose their customers.

She, therefore, urged the law makers to revisit the draft bill, as well as the consumer protection policy document
and take appropriate steps to pass the law, this year. (NAN)