Nigeria has called for strict implementation of the competition policy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Competition Authority (ERCA).
The country also demanded for strong protection against anti-competitive practices and other exploitative tendencies against consumers across the region.
Trade experts in the country on Monday, 13 December, 2021 converge in Abuja to discuss ECOWAS competition policy. The sensitization and advocacy programme was jointly organised by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA).
The sensitization and advocacy discussion was organised to bring Nigerians abreast of the necessary policies guiding trade, competition and consumer protection within the West African region.
Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Vice Chairman, FCCPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera underscore the importance of competition in economic development.
He said competition encourages innovation and efficiency, which in turn bring about quality and decrease in pricing.
Irukera said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is very important that the competition policy of ERCA is strictly implemented across all member states. Additionally, ERCA must provide strong protection against all anti-competitive practices and unscrupulous exploitation of consumers across member states and within the region.
FCCPC EVC who was represented by EC, Operations, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi also added that: “The role of competition as a driver of trade and economic growth cannot be over emphasized, especially in a developing economy like ours. Competition creates a level playing ground for businesses to compete fairly and ethically. It encourages innovation and efficiency amongst businesses which results in increase in quality and decrease in pricing. Competition also protects consumers by offering more choices at competitive prices.”
Irekefa stressed that “the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, to which the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a signatory, now underscores the need for a strong and vibrant regional body on competition and consumer protection.”
He said: “The goal of AfCFTA is to create a single market economy within the African region. This objective is in sync with the ECOWAS Community Treaty which seeks to promote trade integration amongst member states.”
He noted that with a single market economy and competitiveness of local businesses, cross border trade will certainly be on the increase, adding that: “It is therefore very comforting for national competition authorities and business stakeholders to know that there is a regional body charged with the responsibility to ensure fair trade and competition across the region.
“And in this regard, the effort of ERCA in organizing this advocacy and sensitization campaign is very commendable.”
He assured the regional body that FCCPC will continue to support it’s advocacy efforts to sensitise consumers, business enterprises, governments and all key stakeholders on the competition principles and policies at both the regional and national levels, in order to ensure a smooth operation of both national and regional competition policies.
The Commission also pledges to support ERCA in conducting joint investigations and organizing joint capacity building training programs on competition and consumer protection in other member states.
A member of the Consultative Competition Committee of ERCA, Mr. kola Alabi, said competition and consumer protection affects the day to day living of every citizen and requires a collective effort both at the national and regional levels for us to have an efficient and effective competition and consumer protection regime within the ECOWAS region.
The Acting Executive Director of ERCA, Dr Simeon Koffi, delivered a presentation on ERCA amongst other presentations on cross border trade issues within the ECOWAS region, competition policy in relation to AfCFTA and competition and consumer protection regime in Nigeria – NGO’s perspective.
FCCPC has a core mandate to eliminate anti-competitive agreements, misleading, unfair, deceptive or unconscionable marketing, trading and business practices within the Nigerian markets or having an effect on the Nigerian economy.