Source: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) |

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Competition Authority Advocacy and Sensitization Meeting on Competition and Consumer Protection Law in Liberia

The ultimate goal is for Liberia to have in place standard and modern Competition Legislation that mirrors regional and continental frameworks

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 24, 2024/APO Group/ --

The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) as part of its mandate to support Member States in the competition matters conducted advocacy and sensitization on Competition and Consumer protection laws in Liberia from 20- 22 May 2024, in Monrovia, Republic of Liberia.

The advocacy  brought together key stakeholders such as Ministries and government agencies, manufacturing Association of Liberia, banking or financial services, private sector, Chamber of Commerce, and Consumer Protection bodies with the overall objective to discuss and analyse the existing legal and regulatory provisions on competition in the country, identify gaps and work with the Government and other stakeholders to develop competition and Consumer Protection Law that will efficaciously deal with competition enforcement and the protection of the rights of consumers. The ultimate goal is for Liberia to have in place standard and modern Competition Legislation that mirrors regional and continental frameworks.

The Executive Director of ERCA, Dr. Konan Simeon KOFFI, on behalf of the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Madame Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, welcomed all participants to the advocacy and sensitization meeting and expressed gratitude and thanks to the Liberia Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their willingness to collaborate with ERCA in hosting this meeting. This shows that the joint advocacy and sensitization programme on Competition policy is an example of the expected cooperation between ERCA and Member States competition authorities, thus consolidation of the regional competition framework. The Executive Director emphases collaboration between ERCA and national stakeholders in order to strengthen: (i) mechanism for collecting and sharing information and best practices, (ii) national ownership of the regional competition framework, (iii) capacities building of the stakeholders, and (iv) investigation and enforcement of competition law.

In her welcome remarks, Her Excellency, Madam Josephine KRUMAH, ECOWAS Commission Permanent Representative to the Republic of Liberia to express sincere gratitude on behalf of President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, reaffirmed the Commission’s dedication to strengthening economic integration and through promotion and implementation of competition and consumer laws in the region. This accordingly will continue to create awareness for the important of Competition and Consumer Protection with the aim in particular for the Liberia to have a Competition Framework and Policy that will usher for the creation of a National Competition body to enable enforce competition law by eliminating anti-competitive practices, thus ensure the effective implementation of the Regional Competition Rules.

In his opening remarks on behalf of the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Liberia, Honourable Amin MODAD, the Deputy Minister of Commerce, WILMOT REEVES, extended a warm welcome to all participants to Monrovia and thanked the ECOWAS Commission in general, and the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority for taking the initiative of organising this advocacy and sensitization meeting  with a view to share the mandate of ERCA and to collaborate with the Liberia authorities for  competition and consumer policy and las to assist in the establishment of the National body for Competition.

Recognizing the pivotal role these frameworks play in shaping vibrant markets, the Honorable Minister highlighted that Liberia has embark on process to establish Liberia’s national Competition Authority and enact comprehensive Competition and Consumer Protection laws, that would foster an ecosystem where innovation flourishes, consumer interests are protected, and fair-trade practices are the norm.

The Honorable Minister reminded that “the global economy is rapidly evolving, influenced by technological advancements and shifting market dynamics and in that context, Liberia’s pursuit of a well-defined competition policy is not merely an option but a necessity. As emerging economies around the globe have demonstrated, effective competition law is a cornerstone of economic development. It ensures a level playing field, prevents monopolistic practices, and opens up opportunities for small and medium enterprises to thrive.

The opening statements were followed by presentations and discussions on ECOWAS competition framework, overview of the Competition Law of Liberia and Status of competition and consumer protection monitoring in Liberia. The meeting considered the importance of continue collaboration with stakeholders for enhanced awareness of competition issue and for the Liberian government to review the existing competition law to take into consideration the regional and continental framework, and in particular the creation of the National Competition Authority of Liberia for the implementation of the competition and consumer protection policy.

The meeting further adopted a recommendation for ECOWAS Regional competition Authority to accompany the Liberia in the process of law review, and by extension the Liberian Authority to use the competition laws to strengthen the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The following days, ERCA delegation paid a courtesy call to the Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry of Liberia and had bilateral working sessions with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, some businesses, the National Standards Laboratory, the Houses Committee on Commerce of Liberia National Legislature, Liberia Banker’s Association and the Pharmaceutical Board.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).