What you need to know:
- Under the MoU, the EACCA and the FCC have set up a working group tasked with implementing the prioritised activities through annual work plans
Arusha. Calls for increased cross border trade in East Africa were made here yesterday as Tanzania inked a deal with the regional competition authority.
Officials in attendance at the ceremony said the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) should also advance the competition policy and law.
"This agreement should work in such a way as to facilitate cross border trade in the region,” said Ms Lilian Mukoronia, the Registrar of the East African Community Competition Authority (EACCA).
The MoU was signed by EACCA, an institution of the East African Community (EAC) and Fair Competition Commission (FCC) of Tanzania.
Ms Mukoronia said the authority has reached out to other partner states to advance the competition policy and law to facilitate regional trade.
She lauded FCC for being passionate in the deal, saying the move would support the regional strategy for developing a competitive common market "that works for all citizens of East Africa".
She added: "Today, our two institutions are committing to collaborate in effectively implementing the EAC Competition Act, 2006".
Ms Mukoronia added that the Competition Act was intended to, among others, protect market participants "from anti-competitive business practices".
FCC director general, William Erio, said the commission was keen to work with the regional competition authority to protect the consumer.
Under the MoU, the two institutions have set up a working group tasked with implementing the prioritised activities through annual work plans. Tanzania is the second country among the seven EAC member states to sign an MoU with the regional competition authority after Kenya.
In May this year, the Arusha-based EACCA signed its first technical agreement with the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK).
The agreement laid out modalities through which the agencies will mitigate competition infringements with cross border effects.
Furthermore, the pact facilitates information sharing particularly during joint investigations, market inquiries and studies. The pact with CAK, just like the one inked yesterday with FCC,is intended to provide consumers in the EAC partner states with "competitively priced products of good quality."
The EACCA was established in furtherance of the commitment of the partner states, to cooperate in trade liberalization and development, including matters of competition.
Under it, the partner states undertook to prohibit any practice that adversely affects free trade including any agreement that would restrict or distort unfair competition within the EAC.
For instance, the EAC Common Market Protocol strategic thrust is to create one flawless single market across the seven members of the bloc.
The protocol seeks to accelerate regional economic growth and development by introducing the free movement of goods, persons, labour, capital, services, as well as the rights of establishment and residence. The mandate of the EAC Competition Act, 2006 is to promote and protect fair competition in the Community and to provide for consumer welfare and other related matters. The Act came into force on 1st December, 2014 with its main objectives being to protect the consumers by prohibiting anti-competitive practices. The law establishing the authority provides consumers access to products and services within the Community at competitive prices and better quality.
EACCA is the youngest of about a dozen institutions under the Community but had had a slow take off due to a number of challenges.
It finally commenced operations from the EAC headquarters in Arusha and will continue being so until its permanent seat is determined at a later date.