CCP Slumbered while Consumers Short-Changed?
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) was established, in October 2007, with the objective to “maintain and enhance competition.” This brief, simple mandate is enshrined in the preamble of the Competition Act, 2010 (“the Act”). It is, therefore, reasonable to expect that every action of Commission must be geared to achieve its sole objective of maintaining and enhancing competition. The consequential effect of competition is to enhance economic efficiency in all spheres of commercial and economic activity and to protect the consumer from anti-competitive behavior, which is what the Act aims to provide. What is competition? Why is competition so important? How is competition maintained and enhanced? Handling these questions with clarity and focus is fundamental to the work of all concerned within the Commission. To state the obvious, when we talk about competition in reference to the functioning of the market, we mean the rivalry amongst economic agents to secure a larger (or largest) share of the market. A market is called competitive, when there are a large number of market players, products are fairly homogeneous, buyers have perfect information, and there are no unreasonable barriers to entry or exit from market. A competitive market, on the supply side, induces innovation, higher quality and lower prices, and on the demand side, it offers information, choices in products and services of higher quality at competitive prices. All of this may be summed up as “consumer welfare,” which is ultimately achieved by promoting, maintaining and enhancing competition. “Consumer” is the main protagonist in this entire internet of things.