LAHORE: Chairperson of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) Rahat Kaunain has said that complete implementation of competition laws will reduce the prices of essential items by 25 to 30 percent.

Addressing a discussion organised by members of the Lahore Economic Journalist Association here on Monday, she said that if cartelisation will end in different sectors, we will be able to turn Pakistan’s economy into a functional one.

She believed that there is a need for enforcement of the competition laws in the present crisis.

President LEJA Muhammad Sudhir Chaudhry was also present on the occasion.

The competition laws protect the consumers’ interests and make consumers day to day life easy. An effective enforcement is the only way to protect the consumers. She asked for making a National Competition Policy to create awareness among the stakeholders. Furthermore, a regulatory tribunal should be established which will deal the cases related with the regulators. This will speed up the process of disposing off the cases with the regulators and improve overall investment and business environment.

Sharing the details of different inquiries against the cartels and uncompetitive behaviors of various sectors, Rahat pointed out the non-cooperation of the State Bank of Pakistan in T-Bills Auction Inquiry. She mentioned that the commercial banks are cooperating with the CCP but the central bank is not providing the required details.

Rahat said that the CCP could be more effective with the support of the other government regulators. Mutual cooperation of the all government regulators is vital for improved service delivery of the government for the public.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan decision in poultry industry price cartel is a very positive and it will pave way for future decisions, she added.

Similarly, the CCP has initiated an inquiry of 6 mega players of property and real estate of Islamabad-Rawalpindi on deceptive marketing of ensuring up to 400 percent returns to the investments made in their projects. The CCP will expand the scope of this inquiry to other parts of the country after completion of it, she added.

However, Rahat believed that ending the “Land Banking” for the economic growth of Pakistan. People invest in the plots and properties with guaranteed growth and returns so that other sectors remained unattractive for investment. Further, this land banking has been massively changing the landscape of the country which need to stop.

The government should facilitate and incentives the other sectors so the people will invest there and discouraged investments in real estate and property business through policy regulations, she added.

Rahat mentioned that price fixation in the fertiliser sector is possible which ultimately affects the all the agriculture produce and consumers. The inquiry of the automobile sector is also underway. She mentioned that the Pakistan is lagging far behind from India on safety regulations of automobiles.

Indian automobile ensuring over 70 percent safety regulations in vehicles while Pakistan is still stood at 11 percent, she added.

The CCP had recommended the provincial governments to come out of the wheat regulations and procurement business due to huge loopholes in the whole process of wheat procurement to quota distributions to the flour mills.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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