By Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has released its latest newsletter, the ICCC Brief, with the Commissioner’s Christmas message and what the Commission is doing in terms of product safety and consumer protection.
According to Dr. Billy Manoka, competition is the lifeblood of any capitalist economy. He admitted that the ICCC has a long way to go in ensuring that there is sufficient competition in all sectors in the country.
The ICCC does not want to see one major player dominating an industry. Dr. Manoka revealed that recently, there had been some business acquisitions that went unchecked by the Commission, to determine whether the acquisition will significantly affect competition in an industry.
Dr. Manoka said that allowing purchases as such go unchecked can cause vertical integration of the market and one major player will emerge, causing a more monopolistic situation.
The Commissioner said the ICCC’s efforts were lacking. He highlighted that the Commission also cannot do much because the ICCC Act only allows for voluntary clearance by businesses. This means the ICCC isn’t under any real obligation to do market assessment before an acquisition is done.
The end result of it all is that when a big player dominates the markets, ordinary Papua New Guinea’s pay a high prices for goods because there is less to no choice available.
The ICCC Act is currently undergoing a review.