Competition Law: Deterrent To Unfair Rivalry!

The 1998 legal instrument defines the conditions for exercising competition among enterprises involv

Cameroon’s vision to accelerate economic growth through public and private investment did not only start today. Today’s reforms are only complimen- ting the solid foundation for take- off that was laid earlier on. This explains why in 1998, the National Assembly deliberated and adopted a bill on competition which was later promulgated into Law No. 98/013 of 14 July 1998 by the President of the Republic. The law divided in seven sections with 48 articles defines competition, its scope, creates a commission on compe- tition, details offenses and sanctions, procedures for the detection of offenses and prosecution of infringement as well as miscellaneous and final dispositions. According to Article 2 (1) of the legal instrument, the pro- visions of the law shall apply to all sectors of the national economy, all production operations and or marketing of goods and services produced within the national territory by individuals legal, public, parastatal or private. Its application also applies when the effect of competitive practices caused by enterprises outside the country are felt in the domestic market subject to agreements and treaties between Came- roon to host such enterprises. The 1998 law in its Section II prohibits anti-competition prac- tices. It states in Article 3 “all practices that would effectively prevent, distort or restrict significantly the performance of competition in the market are prohibited.” In this case, unfair competition between enterprises in the same line of business is being discouraged in all its facets by the legal instrument. The anti-competition practices referred to above results from agreements made between companies, abuse of a company’s or group of companies dominant position and mergers and acquisitions. Agreements and arrangements that have the effect of eliminating or substantially restric- ting competition in the market either by blocking access in the market or by dividing in anyway buyers or sources of supply in the market are prohibited. Likewise, any merger or acquisition that will restrict competition in the market is prohibited except it is proven to the national commission by the companies that the merger or acquisition is intended to promote competition. The July 1998 law in its Section III also creates a consultative and arbitration body “The National Competition Committee.” The same law fixes the modalities and functioning of the said commission attached to the ministry in charge of is- sues of competition as well as defines its missions. The law also spells out offenses and various sanctions as well as the procedures of detecting and prosecuting the infringements.

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