NAIROBI, Kenya, March 24 – The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has held an engagement session with various business communities in Kenya to discuss the application of the COMESA competition laws in the business environment.

The competition and consumer protection law is important for the promotion of trade liberalization as it will curb incidents of illegal practices and provide equity in the business environment.

Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and Enterprise Development Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina said the implementation of any legal instruments such as the competition and consumer protection law is vital for the management of a business.

“As Kenya we are interested in ensuring that anti-competitive practices do not create participation barriers to trade,” said Maina. “This is even more important for businesses as they recover from the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

The CS made the remarks today in a speech read on her behalf by the State Department for Trade and Enterprise Development Secretary Dr Bruno Linyiru during the COMESA Competition Commission’s Sensitization Workshop for Business Community in Kenya on the Provisions and the Application of the COMESA Competition regulations held at a Nairobi hotel.

The two-day event whose theme is ‘The Role of Competition and Consumer Protection Laws in Post Covid-19 Business Recovery’ brought together stakeholders and government authorities.

She stated that competition law is a key agent in supporting the recovery of businesses as it presents policies that promote equity in the business environment.

The CS commended COMESA for targeting various businesses such as the tourism and transport sectors which have been affected by the pandemic. “The participants will be able to discuss the effects of Covid-19 on businesses and what the competitive markets can bring to promote the economic recovery of Kenya,” added Maina.

She noted that the session will also bring to light the existing agreements Kenya has signed with various regional and international economic sectors such as COMESA and the World Trade Organisation.

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The CS assured stakeholders that the Industrialisation ministry will ensure that the local businesses benefit from the regional trade thus enabling them to be integrated to the international level.

Maina stated that the session will provide a presentation of the available investment opportunities in the business environment. “This is timely as some businesses may be seeking alternatives to boost their businesses,” she added.

Maina said that for businesses to prosper, collaborations between stakeholders and relevant government authorities must be considered as it is key in the effective enforcement of regional and national competition in the economic sector.

He called for all the competition regimes both at the regional and national level to promote efficiency, productivity and competitiveness in the Kenyan market.

In his remarks, former COMESA Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr George Lipimile stated that competitive markets provide a strong incentive for achieving economic efficiency.

“Competitive markets ensure that goods are marketed and distributed to any customer who wishes to purchase them in the most efficient means possible,” said Lipimile.

He said that the competition law will introduce superior products, reduce prices for consumers and transfer of knowledge and skill.