The ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) convened the Fourth Meeting of the Consultative Competition Committee (CCC) from 6th to 8th June 2022, at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria. The overall objective of the meeting was to build CCC members’ capacities on consumer protection tools management and to validate the draft ECOWAS Directive on consumer protection.
The opening ceremony of the meeting featured remarks from Dr. Simeon KOFFI, Executive Director of ERCA and Mr. Babatunde IRUKERA, Vice-Executive Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
In his statement, Dr. Simeon KOFFI, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi BROU, warmly welcomed the CCC members and participants to the Fourth CCC meeting. He began by recalling the Trade ministerial meeting of November 2021 which validated the ERCA’s operational instruments and also buttress the importance of trade issues. He also reminded the meeting that ERCA is conducting market studies on some sectors and inform them that 5 draft reports have already been submitted to ERCA by the consultant.
Recalling the importance of the market monitoring, Dr. Koffi indicated that the consumer protection was at the heart of public policies and recalled the mandate of ERCA which includes the consumer protection. Thus ECOWAS is proposing directives on consumer protection which should contribute to regulate the increase of the prices of the essential commodities due to Covid 19 pandemic and the Ukrane and Russia war in order to ensure that economic and social interests of consumers are protected. He then wished fruitful deliberations to the participants.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the FCCPC, Mr Babatunde Irukera, on behalf of the FCCPC welcomed the participants to the meeting and invited them to enjoy the hospitality of Nigeria. He commended ERCA for its active involvement and participation in the continental negotiation on the AFCFTA competition framework. Recalling that competition is vital for consumer protection, Mr. Irukera underscored the fact that the work of the CCC is this time vital for competition policies to support the regional body.
He noted that the continental fora will enable to protect market and expand business across the continent and therefore commended ERCA for courageously leading the regional initiative. The speaker renewed his availability to continue supporting ERCA for a more engaging and robust regional body, before opening the Fourth CCC meeting.
After the presentation of the objectives of the meeting, the participants embarked on the presentations in order to reinforce the capacities of CCC members in the area of consumer protection, as this is within ERCA’s mandate to build capacities of Member States’ experts in the same area. Presentations were made by the representatives of Nigeria, The Gambia, Senegal, Togo and Guinea Bissau, and followed by comments, questions and recommendations.
The participants further proceeded with the review of the draft ECOWAS Directive on consumer protection, which once validated should be submitted for endorsement by the next meeting of ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry.
Furthermore, in order to update the CCC members on ERCA’s activities, the latter will brief them on the ECOWAS-UEMOA cooperation agreement, the negotiations of AFCFTA Protocol on competition, the state of implementation of the ECOWAS competition community rules since October 2021 and conclude with appropriate recommendations.