ERCA Urges Liberian Government to Facilitate National Competition Authority Framework to Ensure Fair Market in Sub-region

Monrovia- ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) has emphasized the importance of a unified region, urging the government to facilitate a functional competition framework and consumer protection law in Liberia.

By Jaheim T. Tumu

The stance was articulated during a three-day joint consultation workshop between, Executive Director ERCA  Dr. Konan Simeon Koffi, government of Liberia, ECOWAS Resident Representative, Madam Josephine Nkrumah, and stakeholders primarily focusing on advocacy and sensitization of competitive market within Liberia and the sub-region.

In his remarks Dr. Koffi highlighted ERCA as a specialist agency of the ECOWAS Commission charged with the responsibility to ensure member states promote free and fair competition within the region.

Dr. Koffi  underscored the importance of collaboration with national competition authority, such as Liberia which has a competition framework, but lacks functional competition authority to ensure the regional provisions are fully implemented at the national level.

He emphasized the necessity of collective efforts that would ensure the Liberia  government  to accelerate an agenda by putting in place the national authority to assure harmonious implementation of the framework across the region.

Said Dr. Koffi,  “Our aim on this mission is to discuss with all of the national stakeholders because what we are encouraging is the inclusive approach to call all the stakeholders around the table to see how together we can come up with a framework that will allow the country to work for its competitive environment.”

He emphasized, “At the region, we need all of the countries to be at the same pace. It will be good if Liberia, for essentials, does like Gambia, which already has the competition authority, like Nigeria, Cape Verde, and other countries.”

He emphasized the significance of joint engagement of the frameworks to create the platform to mitigate some practices of monopolistic positions and also concerted practices that allow companies to bribe and increase prices which are  not beneficial for consumers.  

He said “If you don’t have a minimum of regulation, you cannot do anything against the misconduct that affects the consumers.”

Making a special statement, Deputy Minister of Commerce, Wilmot Reeves said ERCA  presence signified a collective dedication to transform Liberia’s economic landscape through robust competition and consumer protection frameworks.

According to him,  the competition law is more than just regulatory measures; it is about fostering an ecosystem where innovation flourishes, consumer interests are protected, and fair-trade practices are the norm.

He emphasized that Liberia’s pursuit of a well-defined competition policy is not merely an option but a necessity, stressing that as emerging economies around the globe have demonstrated, effective competition law is a cornerstone of economic development.

Said Minister Reeves, “It ensures a level playing field, prevents monopolistic practices, and opens up opportunities for small and medium enterprises to thrive.”

“We are not just discussing the drafting of laws but envisioning the economic future of our nation. This workshop represents a crucial step toward aligning Liberia with internationally recognized standards and practices.”

He further indicated that by  fostering a competitive market, enhanced consumer welfare, empowers consumers with choices, ensures fair prices, and improves the quality of goods and services that  transform not just economic but shift towards greater social equity.

Accordingly, he said by strengthening  the  competition laws, the nation is setting the  stage for more foreign investment, which is attracted to markets that are regulated by clear and fair rules.

“This workshop will also address the challenges of implementation. The adoption of laws is only the beginning; the real success lies in their effective enforcement. We will explore innovative strategies for monitoring, compliance, and enforcement that integrate technology and community engagement, ensuring that these laws do not just exist on paper but function as living instruments of economic justice and market dynamism.”

Making a belief remark,  ECOWAS Resident Representative,  Josephine Nkrumah said that  competition framework and policy will ensure the creation of a National Competition body which will enforce competition law by eliminating anti-competitive practices, thus ensuring the effective implementation of the Regional Competition Rules.

Said Amb. Nkrumah, “With a view to the effective implementation of the Community Competition Rules and the ECOWAS Directives of Consumer protection, it is within the mandate of ERCA to accompany and assist Member States in the development of o Competition Policy Framework and the establishment of national body in charge of competition.”

She  reiterated the ECOWAS willingness to support this move and believed that actions towards the promotion of a competitive environment with the establishment of competition framework and authority could contribute to the achievement of this objective.

“To reiterate and to assure you that the ECOWAS Commission, together with the ERCA, intends to support positive drive and strengthen its collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Liberia on common interest issues particularly in promotion of competition and consumer protection,” she said.

Brief History:

ERCA is a Regional Program developed through a decision of the Authority of Heads of State and Government and it was launched in Banjul on May 31 2019. It was established to implement the Regional Competition Rules adopted by the ECOWAS Authority in 2008. The Rules are essentially to promote, maintain and encourage competition and enhance economic efficiency in production, trade and commerce at the regional level.

Being a specialized agency with adjudicatory and investigative powers, the institution also has a core mandate of keeping under review commercial activities in the Community market with a view to ascertaining practices which may distort the efficient operations of the market conduct or may adversely affect the economic interest of consumers.

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