Jul 21, 2008, 5:49 AM
Competition in economics is a term that encompasses the notion of individuals and firms striving for a greater share of the market for goods and services.
Ideally, there should be healthy competition among businesses as they face the challenge of producing and providing quality products and services to the consumer.
There is no doubt that healthy competition is good for the market, because competitors work to increase the quantity and quality of services and products offered.
Thus the more competitors in the market, the more they strive to improve customer satisfaction by offering innovative products and services to meet demand and customer needs.
What makes competition good is that it gives more opportunities to the consumer to choose from among the service providers in the market that best favour them.
Consequently, we firmly believe that competition should be encouraged by all Gambians, for the fact that it is in the best interest of both the competitors and the consumers.
We also call for a consumer protection law in the Gambia to ensure the fair treatment of customers.
Even though consumer protection issues are embedded in other laws, there is a need to have a specific law dealing with consumer protection.
People have a right to value for their money in whatever product or service they paid for. Consumer protection issues need to be well understood by every citizens and stakeholders be it in government circles, the private sector and individuals.
For example, tied selling should be discouraged in the market for goods and services, as it does not promote healthy competition practice.
There are also some services in the country that are being monopolised, and these should be liberalised to cater for the best interest of citizens.
Indeed, the more we open up or liberalise the market, the more investors we attract, and the greater are the benefits to the general populace in terms of employment opportunities, and so on.
Free and fair competition is an important pillar for economic progress and growth in any country, since healthy competition should facilitate access to affordable and good quality goods and services.
Since the Gambia Competition Commission is already in operation, we hope that it will work effectively to ensure a healthy competition among all players in the market. Finally, our regulatory authorities such as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Central Bank of the Gambia, Gambia Competition Commission, and Gambia Civil Aviation Authority, among others, in fulfilling their mandate must maintain their independence, as guaranteed by the laws creating them, and must strive to be transparent as much as possible in their operations.
That way, they will earn the confidence of the government, and the respect of the general public.