The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) has urged businesses to ensure that they have adequate compliance procedures in place to avoid anti-competition business practices.
CFTC director of mergers and acquisitions Richard Chiputula said this in Blantyre on Friday during the Compliance Training Workshop for Carlsberg Malawi Limited employees.
He said CFTC prohibits enterprises from engaging in business practices considered to be an infringement on the rights of other enterprises and consumers.
Chiputula said consequences of failing to comply with competition law are serious because they are considered a breach of Competition Law.
Said Chiputula: “Among other things, breach of Competition Law can result in substantial fines in excess of K500 000 or an amount equivalent to the benefit generated by the offence, imprisonment for up to five years, reputational damage as well as civil actions by third parties such as competitors, suppliers or customers.”
He said it is beneficial for firms to have a competition compliance programme, adding that a well prepared compliance programme helps firms to avoid the risk of infringement of the Competition Law.
In his remarks, CFTC director of consumer welfare and education Lewis Kulisewa said it is government’s policy that there should be fair competition on the market; hence, the liberalisation of the market.
“Once you know what the rules of the game are, we believe that you will take every opportunity to ensure that whatever you do is done in a manner that is consistent with the law.
“This will be good for business because if you do not work within the law, there is risk of reputation which is not cheap, as it also places your brand on the line because you are perceived not to be respecting the rules and regulations,” he said.
Carlsberg Malawi Limited legal counsel and company secretary Chipiliro Kauka said training is important, especially for those from logistics and commercial division, because they directly deal in competition issues.
“The training is important as it will help the team relate on a daily basis on these principles. This will also serve as a platform for sharing knowledge on what competition is all about,” she said.
Kauka said Carlsberg Malawi has since developed compliance procedures to help the company to be in line with competition rules and regulations.