Judiciary urged to acquaint with competition laws

13 Aug, 2022 - 00:08 0 Views
Judiciary urged to acquaint with competition laws President Mnangagwa receives a gift from the CEO for the Comesa Competition Commission Dr Willard Mwemba while Chief Justice Luke Malaba and Minister Nzenza look on.

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has challenged the judiciary to fully acquaint itself with modern competition and consumer protection laws and contribute more towards interpretation of economic policy, which will enhance robust domestic and regional development.

Officially opening the three-day workshop for the Judiciary in Zimbabwe being hosted by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Competition Commission in partnership with the Competition and Tariff Commission of Zimbabwe here yesterday, the President said the gathering provides the judiciary with an opportunity to review court operations and proffer solutions to challenges affecting the courts as well as capacitating the judges on the ever-evolving judicial and law ecosystem.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) annually holds an end of term judges’ symposium to reflect on the legal year and plan for the ensuing term, but this year’s edition was framed differently for the Comesa Competition Commission to train members of the bench on competition and consumer protection laws.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba borrowed the idea of a training workshop from Malawi, where the Comesa Competition Commission is based.

President Mnangagwa said the workshop was meant to capacitate Zimbabwean judges with tools and skills to effectively adjudicate competition cases.

“In our case as Zimbabwe, competition law and the attendant robust policy frameworks are important towards the speedy realisation of Vision 2030, of becoming a prosperous and empowered upper middle-income economy.

“This aspiration will be attained through an effective empowered and agile judicial system, which strives for fairness and increased efficiencies across all the productive sectors of the economy.

“It is, therefore, most opportune that this workshop is taking place at the stage when our economy is transitioning from stabilisation to growth.

“To this end, judicial staff must be kept updated and knowledgeable about activities taking place in industry and commerce,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said it was gratifying that the judiciary continues to comply with this constitutional requirement and urged continued investment in human capital development and capacity building programmes as one of the key focus areas under the National Development Strategy (NDS1).

Given the role of competition law in fostering competition in all sectors of the economy and reducing barriers to entry into any sector, President Mnangagwa said competition and consumer protection laws were key enablers of free, open and liberalised trade between countries and for regional integration.

He said the interpretation and enforcement of such laws must provide market players with rules that regulate and protect effective competition for improved economic welfare and quality of life.

“Legal instruments capacitate judicial officers on the ever evolving nature of competition law and related policies. Legal instruments are in themselves a vital cog and essential pillar towards driving sustainable socio-economic development of our great motherland,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa

“Undoubtedly, judges and other related stakeholders remain key to the interpretation of competition and consumer protection laws.

“The intricate nexus between the interpretation and enforcement of laws across sectors of the economy cannot be overemphasised.

“I, therefore, challenge you participants at this workshop to proffer recommendations to bolster the macro-economic measures that have been put in place by Government.”

He said the judiciary, as one of the arms of the State, should deploy requisite legal and regulatory instruments to scale up implementation of its mandate as interpreters of the law.

“You must be instrumental in consolidating the gains made in the successful transitioning and turning around of the country.
“These laws must continue to enhance consumer interest and the realisation of our country’s development aspirations as set out in the National Development Strategy and Vision 2030,” said the President.

“The judiciary should also address competition issues that arise in disputes before the judicial system. This is pertinent moreso that competition law intersects with many fields hence training such as this one is an essential requirement in modern day competition law.”

He said Zimbabwe was determined to play its part to ensure the simplification of trade procedures and elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers in the Comesa free trade area, and the Second Republic will continue to focus on building a modern, industrialised and prosperous Zimbabwe.

The President said enforcement of the Competition Act and Consumer Protection Act among other pieces of legislation remains central as one of strategies to spur new enterprises, increase domestic production and improve trade.

He said against this backdrop, national institutions, human resources, laws and policies and other strategies must be harnessed towards enabling a resilient, functional and efficient market.

Dr Sekai Nzenza

The President warned cartels and all those who collude in promoting unjustified price increases, illicit activities and currency manipulation for the purposes of realising super profits to desist from those practices.

In her remarks, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said the market had become more dynamic and sophisticated due to sustained industrialisation, with industry and commerce witnessing a lot of litigation cases hence the need to bridge the gap and benefit the consumer.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the general populace tends to benefit from these laws while the director and chief executive of Comesa Competition Commission Dr Willard Mwemba said competition laws are there to protect new business entrants from unorthodox survival tactics by big players.

Minister Richard Moyo

Senior judges from the Constitutional, Supreme, Administrative, Labour and High Court are attending the three-day conference which ends today, and are joined by counterparts from Malawi and South Africa, including former judge president of the Competition Appeal Court of South Africa Justice Dennis Davis, and Comesa officials. [email protected]

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