Nigeria Calls for Strict Implementation of ECOWAS Competition Policy

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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 strong protection against anti-competitive practices and other exploitative tendencies against consumers across the region.

Trade experts in the country yesterday converge in Abuja to discuss ECOWAS competition policy. The sensitisation and advocacy programme was jointly organised by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA).

The sensitisation 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, underscored the importance of competition in economic development.

He said competition encouraged 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 within the region.”

The FCCPC boss, who was represented by EC, Operations, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, also added: “The role of competition as a driver of trade and economic growth

cannot be over emphasised, 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 among 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 (AfCFTA), to which Nigeria is a signatory, now underscores the need for a strong and vibrant regional body on competition and consumer protection.

“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 among 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 everyone to have an effective competition and consumer protection regime within the ECOWAS region.

The acting Executive Director of ERCA, Dr. Simeon Koffi, delivered a presentation on ERCA among 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, the NGO’s perspective.

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