The Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CfTC) on Monday signed into a working relationship with Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) to deal with competition and fair trading issues in the tobacco industry.
CfTC executive director Charlotte Wezie Malonda said on the sidelines of the signing the agreement in Lilongwe that the partnership comes after the commission noted existence of various anticompetitive and unfair trading practices that need to be addressed for the good of the growers, industry players and the economy at large.
She said: “We noted anticompetitive practices during our surveillance visits to auction floors, tobacco growing areas, and our engagement with other tobacco stakeholders.
“We would like to witness fruits of uncompromised competition at the auction floors, fair contractual terms and pricing of tobacco leaf under integrated production system (IPS), fair trading conduct by tobacco associations, grading companies and transporters”.
Malonda urged players in the tobacco sector and the general public to resist, reject and report any anticompetitive and unfair trading practices that they might notice for redress jointly with TCC .
TCC chief executive officer Kayisi Sadala said that tobacco production, marketing, processing and exportation is a complex business hence fostering fair trading is important.
“Lately, and as part of the IPS, the industry has witnessed the advent of contract farming. This has brought about both backward and forward vertical integration from the merchants, associations, market operators, and other key stakeholders.
“This agreement helps us in the fight against the impingement of competition and fair trading in tobacco related issues. It will go a long way in adding value to the enforcement of competition and fair trading,” he said.
Sadala said the memorandum of understanding (MoU) will equip the two institutions with the necessary legal tools so that, jointly and with mutual understanding, they can enforce competition and fair trading issues that affect the tobacco industry.
The MoU contains an operational framework that guides the sharing and keeping the two institutions informing each other of key developments that affect competition and fair trading in the tobacco industry.