THE Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) of Zimbabwe has received an excellence award from the World Bank in recognition of its hard work in competition advocacy in the country.
CTC outgoing chairman, Dumisani Sibanda, who is also a businessman and consultant, received the award on behalf of the commission during a recent international competition advocacy contest meeting in Singapore.
Zimbabwe scooped the prestigious award alongside Mexico under the category one, which focused on “competition advocacy in fast growing and innovative markets”.
The global finance body applauded CTC for influencing the downward reduction of mobile telecommunication tariffs in Zimbabwe.
“In Zimbabwe, the Competition and Tariff Commission worked with the telecommunications regulator (Potraz) and the Central Bank (The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) to address regulatory barriers in the telecommunications sector, bringing a significant reduction in mobile money transfer transaction costs, thereby increasing access to mobile payment systems in rural and remote areas,” the WB said.
The move saw mobile phone operators — NetOne, Econet and Telecel — slash their tariffs from an average $0,23 per minute to $0,15 per minute.
During CTC’s investigations, allegations had been raised that mobile phone services in Zimbabwe were excessively expensive.
There were also complaints over price discrimination by Econet among banks on the use of the secondary USSD services stifling competition and that a short 20 second session for Person 2 Person (P2P) transactions was being imposed on banks mobile payment systems through Eco-cash.
Allegations were also raised that there was an exclusive arrangement whereby all Econet’s suppliers of goods and services were required to open accounts with a bank that Econet owned.
The reduction in tariffs have set the pace for a wave of price cuts across different sectors of the economy in Zimbabwe, which experts say has an effect of enhancing consumer spending and boosting production volumes.Several companies have embraced the price reduction crusade in a bid to gain competitive edge in the market.The price factor is critical in the economy given the impact of cheap imports, which have flooded the local market since adoption of the multiple currency system in 2009.
Similarly, Mexico City’s Department of Transportation became the first local government in Latin America to issue a specific regulation allowing companies like Uber to operate fully.
This was made possible thanks to the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE).The event was organised by the International Competition Network (ICN) in conjunction with the World Bank Group.