ICCC lauds competition

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday March 13th, 2014


COMPETITION is the driving factor behind economic growth aimed to improve living standard and reduces poverty.

This was the main message by Independent Competition and Consumer Commission (ICCC) chief executive Dr Billy Manoka at the launch of the commission’s corporate plan yesterday.

Manoka said the plan would pave the way for the promotion of competition and fair trade.

He said ICCC was responsible for regulating declared goods and services that were provided by one single entity.

“We (ICCC) deal only with declared goods and services — these goods include rice, flour and sugar and the services are ports, power, water, post, stevedoring and handling, so there is tariffs and service standards. 

“Other goods and services are left to the interaction of market forces.

“But how we influence prices is that we try to ensure there is competition in those markets – so prices are lower that is our (ICCC) primary objective.

“We do that by ensuring there is a level playing field in the market, apart from the declared goods and services

Manoka dismissed claims that ICCCC was responsible for high prices in the country.

He explained: “The primary reason why prices are high is because of the depreciation in the kina value. 

“But the problem with the private sector is that when the kina appreciates, they do not lower the prices of goods and services.

“They maintain prices, so I think there is a lot of greed in the private sector. 

“So I think we can all do our part but other the sectors of the government should also contribute — for instance, the Works Department.

“The private sector complained of high costs of doing business, absence of badly needed infrastructure and deteriorating law and order.

“We need other stakeholders to play their parts and when I say other stakeholders, they include the private sector.”

He said the prediction of a further 10% drop in the value of the kina is going to hit “really hard” as 70% of goods consumed were imported.

“That is going to spell disaster to the consumers.”