The Competition Commission recently announced details of a meeting regarding recommendations on the price control mechanism for essential food commodities. The commission will now finalise its recommendations based on the suggestions received from stakeholders and present them at the next meeting of the National Price Monitoring Committee.
The Competition Commission recently concluded its investigation into allegations that the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) had restricted insurance coverage of public civil works to AA-rated insurers. The commission determined that the restriction had reduced and distorted competition in the relevant market and recommended that proceedings be initiated against the PEC.
The Competition Commission recently issued show cause notices to eight medical institutions for alleged violation of the Competition Act 2010, which prohibits business undertakings from engaging in deceptive marketing practices. The institutions had misrepresented their Medical and Dental Council recognition on their websites or failed to communicate the restrictions imposed on admissions.
The Competition Commission recently signed a memorandum of understanding for the sharing of information with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Further, the commission issued a policy note that recommended amendments to the Insurance Ordinance 2000 to open up the insurance of public property to the private sector.
The latest in a series of enforcement and advocacy efforts by the Competition Commission is an opinion providing recommendations concerning anti-competitive practices by public sector procuring agencies in relation to tenders for procurement of electrical equipment. The commission's opinion serves as a guideline for procuring agencies when designing tender documents.
The Competition Commission recently dismissed two complaints made under Section 3 of the Competition Act 2010: one filed by Wise Communication Systems Limited against Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited and the other brought by a manufacturer of bi-axially oriented polypropylene film.
The Competition Commission has issued an opinion to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources eliminating the discriminatory application of the inland freight equalisation margin and creating a level playing field for all refineries and oil marketing companies active in the crude and refined oil markets.
The Competition Commission of Pakistan's efforts in sensitising the government and regulatory bodies to potential competition concerns were recently recognised and commended by the World Bank. The commission won the World Bank Competition Advocacy Contest 2013 for conducting advocacy to increase competition in Pakistan's air transportation market on the route between Pakistan and Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
One of the roles of the Competition Commission is to sensitise the government and regulatory bodies to potential competition concerns by reviewing draft laws, regulations and decisions and issuing corresponding policy notes. As several recent policy notes illustrate, the commission aims to provide advice that is pre-emptive and precautionary in order to deter potentially anti-competitive activities.
The Competition Commission recently issued an inquiry report regarding a complaint against Shangrila (Private) Limited (SPL). The complaint alleged that SPL had claimed that its Shangrila tomato ketchup was "Pakistan's number one tomato ketchup" in its advertising campaigns, but had no reasonable basis to make such a claim and had thus disseminated false and misleading information in violation of the Competition Act.
The All Pakistan Paper Merchants Association recently urged the Competition Commission to turn its attention to alleged cartel activity among paper millers. With regards to the activities of trade organisations and their members, the commission has decided a number of cases in this area, in which it held that price fixing between various members of any trade association violates competition law.
As part of its efforts to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour and promote voluntary compliance with the Competition Law, the Competition Commission has issued deceptive marketing guidelines for undertakings that provide telecommunications products and services in Pakistan. The guidelines provide both advice on what may constitute deceptive marketing practices and suggestions on how to avoid violations.
The Competition Commission has imposed a total penalty of PRs25 million (approximately $250,000) on five universities for advertising unaccredited engineering programmes in violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, which prohibits deceptive marketing practices. A total of 27 universities were reprimanded for falsely claiming to be either accredited or approved and recognised by the Pakistan Engineering Council.
The compressed natural gas (CNG) sector is an important part of the national economy. However, following mass closures of CNG stations throughout the country and allegations raised of the collusive role of CNG associations in the industry, the Competition Commission has commenced an enquiry into the associations' conduct and authorised investigations of their premises.
Wyeth Pakistan Limited filed a complaint with the Competition Commission that Veet depilatory cream manufacturer Reckitt had claimed in advertisements that "9 out of 10 women prefer Veet" with no reasonable basis for this claim. The commission held that the advertisements violated the Competition Act and recommended that proceedings be initiated against Reckitt.
The Competition Commission recently raided the offices of the Pakistan Poultry Association in Lahore and Islamabad on suspicion of alleged anti-competitive activities, including exorbitant and parallel increase in prices of poultry feed by feed mills in the domestic market.
The Competition Commission has reached conclusions on the role played by 1-Link (Guarantee) Limited, one of two suppliers of automatic teller machine cash withdrawal services in Pakistan, and a number of its member banks in relation to certain fees paid by customers for cash withdrawals. It has also imposed conditions on future decision making on customer charges.
In Pakistan, automatic teller machine (ATM) cash withdrawal services are provided by two networks. The Competition Commission noted that 26 banks were charging a uniform amount for ATM cash withdrawals, despite having different business dynamics. An inquiry committee has set out its conclusions and is reviewing whether to investigate the possible role of the Pakistan Banks' Association.
Following its investigation into alleged collusive bidding by manufacturers of electrical power equipment, a committee of the Competition Commission has announced that Siemens (Pakistan) Engineering Co Ltd has become the first company to file for leniency with the commission under Regulation 3 or 4(1) of the Competition (Leniency) Regulations 2007.
The Competition Commission has passed an order on a show cause notice issued to Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association for contravening the Competition Act 2010. Among other things, the commission considered whether the association had discriminated between its members and commercial importers by charging different rates for the same service.