Govt plans ordinance on competition

Kathmandu, March 16:

Experts and high-level government officials disclosed today that an ordinance on competition is going to be released soon. They also said that a competition law is in the process of being finalised which will help create ‘fair and healthy’ competition in the economy.

Bharat Bahadur Thapa, secretary at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, while addressing a gathering of over 80 participants from various sectors, disclosed that a ‘draft paper’ related to the competition law is in the final stage. Thapa said that in the context of increased importance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and market economy, a competition law would be an effective instrument to boost ‘free and fair’ business and economic activities.

The existing market environment is not as competitive as we expect and the new tool will be an effective instrument for the benefit of consumers, hoped Thapa.

Dr Posh Raj Pandey, president of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) stressed on the need to bring a competition law to bring the private sector on the right track and discourage distortions in the market. Dr Pandey hoped that the competition law would promote competitive culture in the economy and consumers will benefit to a great extend.

Chandi Raj Dhakal, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), said that there is an increasing need for a competition law in Nepal at a time when there are already laws and acts related to securities, secure transactions and insolvency, following Nepal’s accession to WTO.

Dhakal hoped that the enforcement of competition law would drive the economy into the right direction. However, while implementing this, business sector should not be put in trouble, he hoped. He said that Nep-al’s private sector is not in a position to implement ‘modernised’ competition law.

Navin Dahal, executive director of SAWTEE, said that the competition law is required for sound economic development of the country. If there were proper competition in economy, it would benefit all when it comes to delivery of goods and services to consumers, said Dahal. For protecting the interest of consumers, competition law is required, he opined.

Advocate Tika Ram Bhattarai and executive member of Nepal Bar Association (NBA) said that about 100 countries already have competition laws. Even India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have formulated competition laws.

The competition law is needed for a free market and healthy competition, develop competitive culture and ensure rights of consumers for consumption of goods they prefer, said Bhattarai.