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Competition vital in growth

EFFECTIVE competition is a means of stimulating economic growth, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Siazongo Siakalenge has said.
In a keynote address at the launch of a project report titled ‘Competition reforms in key markets for enhancing socio-economic welfare in developing countries’ by the Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS), Mr Siakalenge said Zambia has undergone fundamental changes in trade and economic policy since the early 1990s.
In a speech read by the ministry’s director Sunday Chikoti, Mr Siakalenge said the development resulted in the considerable liberalisation of the trade regime in all spheres of the economy, thereby promoting competition.
“This has affected industries differently; some have collapsed while other industries grabbed the opportunity to expand as a result of the reforms.
“As a government, we believe effective competition is one of the critical instruments for increasing economic growth through innovation, efficiency and productivity, as well as reducing poverty, and ensuring greater consumer welfare,” Mr Siakalenge said.
He said it is necessary for competition policy and law to be developed to ensure a fair competitive environment that can stimulate private sector growth.
“This project fits in well in the ministry’s agenda as forces of competition create pressure on businesses to be efficient, and produce goods and services valued by consumers,” Mr Siakalenge said.
Earlier, CUTS co-ordinator Simon Ng’ona said there is need for evidence-based policies in developing the country.
And CUTS board chairperson Michael Muleba said paying attention to competition matters results in meaningful benefits to consumers.
The findings of the report that was conducted across two sectors of maize production, and marketing and passenger transport, revealed irregularities on the regulatory framework for procurement and distribution of fertilisers and non-adherence to transport regulations, respectively.