CFTC realizes positive impact in defeating unfair trade practices

Nkhotakota: Reporting consumer rights violation complaints that lead to investigations is one way that accelerates the impact in minimizing the restrictive and unfair trade practices in the country, Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has said.

CFTC Director of Merger and Acquisitions, Richard Chiputula made the remarks on Wednesday during a business clinic meeting with Nkhotakota district council members to sensitize them about restrictive business and unfair trading practices.

Chiputula said last year the Commission received over 100 consumer rights violation complaints which he said is tremendous impact based on the rise in such cases. He attributed the rise in number of complaints to increased advocacy and awareness campaigns conducted by the Commission.

As a Commission, our job is to investigate cases of alleged abuse of consumer rights and engaging in uncompetitive business practices.

We have been receiving a lot of support from the public through submission of complaints to carry out the investigations and the offenders were fined, he said.

He however, said more cases recorded were concerning consumers than enterprise complaints. He said there is limited reporting from enterprises for restrictive and unfair trade practices that defeat competition between two or more enterprises.

We are still sensitising the general public that it is not bad to report against your fellow business person or company particularly where you see that the conduct is having some negative effects, he said.

The Director said the restrictive and unfair trade practices taking place in the country are due to lack of information. He said consumers whose rights are infringed upon are not aware about their consumer rights and where to lodge complaints, but some individuals engage into unfair trade practices for their own benefit.

He added that CFTC is establishing a working relationship with district councils so that they can be ambassadors of the commission in order to propagate the information about the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) to the rural areas in their respective districts.

Speaking during the presentation, CFTC economist, Innocent Helema said the Competition and Fair Trading Act (CFTA) among other things aims to encourage competition by prohibiting restrictive and unfair trade practices and protect consumer welfare.

Helema said there is need for consumers to take positive roles in safeguarding their rights that will help do away with violation of consumer rights.

The Competition and Fair Trading Commission started fully operating in 2013 and was established under Competition and Fair Trading Act (1998) to regulate, monitor, control and prevent acts or behaviour which is likely to adversely affect competition and fair trading in Malawi.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA