Pakistan urged to frame new laws against cartels

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has been asked by the World Bank to frame new laws in 2008-09 and come down heavily on the cartels in business sector to arrest the downward slide in the economy.



By (By a correspondent)

Published: Sat 7 Jun 2008, 11:34 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:07 PM

Informed sources said the bank believed that the "cartalists and abusers of dominance" were hurting the overall economy and needed to be checked. They said the bank has expressed serious concern over the "leniency" being shown to cartels, particularly in the banking, cement, sugar, wheat, automobile and pharmaceutical sectors.

"Like previous governments, this PPP-led government too is avoiding to regulate businesses and the World Bank has taken up the issue with the higher authorities," a source familiar with the issue said.

For one the World Bank wants the role of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) expanded to deal with hoarders and balckmarketeers in order to check inflation, particularly the food prices.

"Once again the Bank has stressed that the recommendations of various business bodies, including Overseas Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan Business Council and Institute of Chartered Accountants, should be implemented to break cartels," said one source.

It observed that cartels in Pakistan had grown stronger over the years with the connivance of the bureaucracy, adding to the miseries and sufferings of the people all the time.

Sources said that if the role of the CCP was not strengthened in the new budget, business and industry will play havoc with the people who were already sick of rising prices. One of the major issues, the World Bank officials believed, was the non implementation of competition laws.

The government was told by the Bank to follow the examples of China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Vietnam who framed strict competitions laws and implemented them in letter and spirit with the result their businesses were performing satisfactorily without fleecing their citizens.

When approached the Chairman CCP Khalid Mirza said that he was not privy to any budgetary proposal to effectively regulate businesses aimed at discouraging cartelisation.

Responding to a question, he said that competition law was still to be implemented and expressed hope that the new government would take it seriously particularly during the next financial year.

He said CCP needed funds to run its affairs especially by having "tied sourcing" of funding from regulatory agencies. asked whether the concerned government organisations were under pressure from the cartels not to implement the competition law, he said he did not know about it. He said his job was to perform his duties honestly so as to save the consumers from undue profiteering.

To another question, he said he would of course be lenient and even grant reprieve to those who would come to him with discloser of the fact on any issue.

"I am hopeful that the new government would soon address financial issues of the commission," he said regretting that salaries of his organisation's members have not been decided for the last many months because of the non implementation of competition law.


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