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CCPC Reports Significant Achievements in 2023

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in Zambia recently released its 2023 Annual Performance Report, highlighting key achievements, challenges, and future initiatives. 

Over the past year, the CCPC played a vital role in safeguarding consumer rights and promoting fair competition across various sectors of the economy.

In 2023, the CCPC resolved a total of 1,854 cases, a slight decrease from the previous year, attributing this decline to the referral of certain complaints to sector regulators. Notably, the retail sector accounted for 36.82%, the financial services sector represented 30.60%, and the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector made up 15.05% of the cases.

The Commission imposed fines on 21 traders in violation of consumer protection provisions, ranging from 0.5% to 0.8% of their annual turnovers. In addition to fines, the CCPC recovered K4,572,204.49 in refunds and K2,197,850.22 in replacements and repairs, showcasing its commitment to addressing consumer grievances.

The CCPC assessed 63 merger cases in 2023, with a notable decline from the previous year attributed to an adjustment in the merger notification threshold. The mergers facilitated a total investment amount of K9,639,653,419.71.

Regarding abuse of dominance, the CCPC investigated nine cases, with one leading to a fine and three cases closed with no established wrongdoing. The Commission also addressed 31 cases of restrictive business practices, including financial penalties imposed on distributors of Zambian Breweries PLC clear beer products.

Cartels remained a focus, with 12 cases under investigation, including instances involving agriculture, manufacturing, services, and the retail sector. The CCPC emphasized the severity of cartels, considering them a conspiracy against the people of Zambia.

Market inquiries continued, with a completed inquiry into the Pay Television service sector. Another inquiry into the poultry and inputs market is set to commence in January 2024, in collaboration with external organizations to ensure a multidisciplinary approach.

A significant development was the amendment of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law by President Hakainde Hichilema. The amendments aim to enhance competition, consumer welfare, and regional integration through the enforcement of COMESA Competition Regulations.

The amended act addresses issues related to unconscionable conduct by traders, movement of core company assets out of the country, and consumer protection against false presentations. It empowers the CCPC to intervene in public emergencies, such as the current cholera epidemic.

Throughout 2023, the CCPC actively engaged in legal proceedings, securing judgments in its favor and settling cases out of court. The Commission recovered K8,642,194.61 from erring enterprises and collected K31,043,219.29 in statutory fees on behalf of the government.

Looking ahead, the CCPC expressed its commitment to contributing to the economic development of Zambia and safeguarding the interests of consumers. With the amended Competition and Consumer Protection Act, the Commission aims to enhance stakeholder collaboration, introduce effective systems for case resolution, and intensify sensitization and education efforts in line with its strategic plan for 2022–2026.

In conclusion, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s 2023 report reflects a proactive approach to addressing issues in the market, ensuring fair competition, and protecting the rights of consumers in Zambia.

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