CCAC to hold consultations for Merger and Acquisition Bill in 2021

The Competition Policy Unit of the Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) will begin consultations for the Mergers and Acquisition Bill in 2021.

Mr. Anil Sukhdeo, Competition Policy Officer in the Unit said the Bill covers all acquisitions in Guyana and will, ultimately, benefit consumers.

In a recent interview with DPI, he said the Unit addresses three areas; abuses of dominance by a dominant player in the market, anti-competitive agreements, and mergers and acquisition.

“We have a Bill. The Bill is to be consulted upon next year with the various stakeholders and hopefully enacted before the year is finished.

Under the Mergers and Acquisition Bill, the activities that are monitored under the Competition Policy Unit would increase significantly. It will cover all new acquisitions in Guyana,” Mr. Sukhdeo said.

The CPU is one of four such agencies in the Caribbean and Guyana liaises with those in Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica. Recently, Guyana and Barbados signed an MoU for information sharing.

The CCAC developed the policies.

“We protect consumers. Our standard for welfare is consumer welfare, so, generally the benefits trickle down so when we prohibit, or [issue] a cease-and-desist order to a firm or to an enterprise, where they might have been price fixing, usually the ones to benefit from the competition between agencies are the consumers because when you compete, you fight for the consumer.

Mr. Sukhdeo added: “You fight for the market share and you usually compete through lower prices and better quality. When there is no collusion among players, you have to fight to keep your market share and that’s how you do it, through lower prices and attracting consumers through better quality.”

Currently, the Unit monitors and investigates complaints from consumers.

“There might be some activities that may be overlooked that we might not know of or we might not be aware of completely, but there are, for sure, anti-competitive activities at the moment,” he said.

However, he explained, there is a process which gives the guilty parties a fair chance to represent themselves. “Everyone is invited. There is an investigation … we inform the parties of the findings and from there we can have a hearing. You are entitled to your legal representation and it is very much similar to court proceedings because we are a quasi-judicial body, so everyone is represented.”

The Unit is the investigative arm of the CCAC and is mandated to ensure compliance with the Competition and Fair Trading Act.