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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has given the approval for the appointment of Rahat Kaunain as chairperson of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), and Shomaila Loan and Mujtaba Ahmad Lodhi were appointed as members of the CCP for a term of three years. In a summary moved for consideration and approval of the federal cabinet meeting, the Finance Division proposed that Rahat Kaunain may be appointed as the chairperson with immediate effect for a period of three years in accordance with Section 14 of the Competition Act, 2010.

The Finance Division proposed that Shomaila Loan and Mueen Batlay may be appointed as members of the CCP with immediate effect for a term of three years.

The Finance Division further proposed that Rahat Kaunain may also be appointed as the chairperson of the CCP with immediate effect.

The biggest achievement during the last tenure of Rahat as Chairperson CCP was transition of competition law into the Competition Act as a result of effective lobbying and advocacy.

In the past, being CCP Member Legal and head of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), Ms Kaunain had issued landmark orders against the powerful lobbies and mafias giving a clear message to the companies involved in cartelisation and anti-competitive behaviour. Besides issuing numerous position papers, guidelines, policy notes regarding important issues of competition law and policy, she had issued some of the most important orders passed by CCP including the one that resulted in breaking the most pernicious cartels in the cement and LPG sector.

Some of the landmark decisions during her tenure include international clearing house case where I4 LDI operators cartelised inter alia through price & quota fixing. The urea fertiliser case in which two companies were found abusing market power and held responsible for unreasonable price hike. The Leniency decision in another case where cartel & bid rigging in supplies to power companies was unveiled.

The cabinet was informed that a selection committee constituted to select the members of the CCP from those applied in response to advertisement, recommended nine names, short listing after interview to the Finance Division to select three of them as members of the CCP.

In the summary to the federal cabinet, the Finance Division stated that the members of the CCP are pointed by the federal government under Section 14 of the Competition Act, 2010 from among the members of the Commission; the federal government would appoint the chairman.

As per criteria, no person will be recommended for appointment as a member, unless a person possesses a post-graduate degree in the relevant field from a recognised institution and is known for his integrity, expertise, eminence and experience not less than 10 years in any relevant field including industry, commerce, economics, finance, law, accountancy or public administration.

The Finance Division said that the three positions of the member CCP were advertised on April 25 and 26, 2020, and in response to the advertisement 121 applications were received by the closing date, which were scrutinised by a committee comprising Ahmed Mujataba Memon, Additional Finance Secretary (HRM), Akhtar Jan Wazir, Additional Secretary, Establishment Division, Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Additional Finance Secretary (IF/inv), Kamran Ali Afzal, Additional Finance Secretary (EF), and Dr Arshad Mahmood, Additional Finance Secretary (expenditure), in its meeting held on May 15, 2020.

After assessment of the CVs and credentials of all the candidates on the basis of their educational background and quality, relevance and diversity of their experience, the Committee finalised the list of candidates in order of their merit for consideration of the Selection Committee.

The 15 candidates in order of merit were called for interview by a selection committee, comprising Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue; Dr lshrat Husain, Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity; Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile and Investment; Naveed Kamran Baloch, Finance Secretary; Dr Ijaz Munir, secretary Establishment Division on 6th June, 2020.

Out of 15 candidates called for interview, 10 appeared in person, while four were interviewed through a video link, and one candidate withdrew her candidature and did not appear for interview

The Committee unanimously recommended Rahat Kaunain Hassan, Shomaila Loan, Mueen Batlay, Samir Ahmed, Mohammad Bilal, Salman Amin, Mujtaba Ahmad Lodhi, lkram UI Hague Qureshi and Khacian Hassan Najeeb.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020