The Competition and Tariff Commission was established and started operations in 1998 but then was known as Industry and Trade Competition Commission. In 2001,the Industry and Trade Competition Commission (ITCC) merged with the then Tariff Commission (TC) to form the current Competition and Tariff Commission.
The Commission has the mandate to promote and maintain competition in the economy of Zimbabwe through the prevention and control of restrictive practices, regulation of mergers, the prevention and control of monopoly situations and the prohibition of unfair trade practices and protect local industry and promote local industry competitiveness.
The Competition and Tariff Commission is an independent statutory body established under the provisions of Competition Act [Chapter 14:28]. The Commission falls under the Ministry of Industry
The Commission does not regulate prices. We promote free competition in the market. According to section 5 of the Act the Commission can monitor prices, costs, and profits in the industry or business that that the Minister directs the Commission to monitor, and report its findings to the Minister.
The Commission administers Competition Act which provides “…the Act shall bind the Sate to the extent that the State is concerned in the manufacture and distribution of commodities.” So the Commission can investigate State owned enterprises in as much as they are involved in the manufacture and distribution of commodities.
Not currently. However in future,the Commissionplans to have regional officesdepending on availability of funds. Currently there is only one office in Harare that serves the whole country.
A merger is notifiable to the Commission if the merging parties combined annual turnover or assets whichever is higher exceed US$ 1 200 000. Any of the merging parties can file for examination of the transaction to the Commission.
The Commission thoroughly undertakes numerous economic valuationsin assessing merger applications. These are not limited: (a) whether the merger will lead to Substantial Lessening of Competition; and or (b) whether the merger will enhance/lead to creation of monopoly situation in the relevant market; and (c) Public Interest issues such as employment creation, investment and indigenisation and empowerment issues.
The merging parties might consummate the transaction however there is risk if the Commission later reject it as the merging parties would have to unscramble all the developments. It is therefore advisable that merging parties seek for the authorisation of the transaction before consummating it.
They may submit their views on the proposed merger immediately to the Authority
An application for a merger can either be approved, approved with conditions or rejected
The decision of the Competition Authority on a merger is final and any aggrieved party cannot appeal to the Commission but, can only appeal to the Administrative Court against that decision.
The Commission can terminate the transaction and can also fine the concerned firms up to 10% of their combined annual turnover or assets whichever is higher.
Restrictive practices and unfair business practices
Restrictive practices as defined in the Competition Act also include agreements either vertical or horizontal between or among firms which has the effect of materially distorting or preventing competition in any relevant market within Zimbabwe. Unfair business practice are per se prohibited business practices that include misleading advertising, false bargains, distribution of commodities or services above advertised prices, undue refusal to distribute commodities or services, Bid rigging, collusive arrangements between competitors, resale price maintenance and exclusive dealing.
The Commission deals with trade tariffs. Trade tariffs refer to tax charged on imported goods. On trade tariffs the Commission can recommend for review either upwards or downwards depending on whether it is a tariff protection or relief case respectively.
Tariff protection or relief cases are referred to as Tariff Adjustment Case.
Tariff Protection case is when tariffs for finished and intermediate products that are also manufactured locally is adjusted upwards to protect local industry.
Tariff Relief case is when tariffs for raw materials and intermediate products are reviewed downwards to improve the competitiveness of local industries.
Unfair trade practices comprises of Dumping, subsidies and safeguards. To prevent these practices the Commission can recommend to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce after thorough investigations for application of anti-dumping duties, anti-subsidies and safeguards. the investigations are done in accordance with the laid WTO rules and regulations.