Following widespread allegations of cartels and syndicates controlling markets for rice, sugar, edible oil, and other essentials, for a long time, the government has drafted the Competition Act 2010 to address anti-competitive practices in businesses. Saad Hammadi finds out how the government plans to address the issue and speculates how unethical businesses can still hoodwink the government initiative
The price of essential commodities has shot up manifold over the last decade, contributing to rising inflation in the country and eating away at people’s purchasing power capacity. The BNP-led government during their tenure from 2001-2006, the military-backed interim government between 2007 and 2008, as well as the present AL-led government, have all been faced with this acute problem, and despite many promises and some initiatives, the price of essential commodities is one thing all three governments have failed to control.
The accused in this case, as we have been told by all subsequent governments, are ‘cartels’ and ‘syndicates’. Apparently, traders, importers and other businessmen working in a particular area, form secret alliances and fix uniform prices for products, which do not reflect the production costs, thereby cramping customers for options and forcing them to pay their profiteering margins.
Ministers have openly threatened syndicates, however, we are yet to meet, or even see the face of at least one of these syndicates, nor have any government been able to curtail their influence to any measurable degree.
As part of their latest effort to rid the market of unfair practices, the government has recently drafted a competition law titled Competition Act 2010. The cabinet has, on October 4,
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