ERCA is pleased to inform ECOWAS Member States’ Governments, regional trade operators, trade chambers, investors, associations of consumer protection, civil society organizations and the general public that during its 87th ordinary session that took place from 9th to 10th December 2021 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the ECOWAS Council of Ministers has validated a draft Supplementary Act amending the Supplementary Act A/SA.2.12.08 on the establishment, powers and functions of the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority (ERCA) and recommended it for adoption by of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
In that regard, during its Sixtieth Ordinary Session that held on 12 December 2021 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Authority, adopted the amendment of the aforementioned Supplementary Act that aims at establishing the ERCA Council Board that will be the adjudicative organ while the ERCA Executive Directorate will be the investigative body, as well as other operational structures within the competition agency.
The Council also adopted 4 Regulations with the aim of ensuring the operationalization of ERCA. The first one is relating to the powers and the composition of the ERCA Board, the second one has to do with the ERCA Rules of Procedure generally, the third one deals with rules of procedure for mergers and acquisitions, while the last one is relating to the leniency and immunity program that will easy the detection of cartels in the area of competition.
With this, ERCA is equipped to start interventions from 2022 in Member States and at the regional market in the area of competition.
It is worth recalling that ERCA was established in 2008 and started operation in January 2019 in Banjul in The Gambia. It is responsible for monitoring commercial activities in the common market in order to detect practices that may distort the proper functioning of the market or harm the economic interests of consumers; it conducts market investigations, prevents and eliminates anti-competitive agreements and behaviors that constitutes an abuse of dominant position. Once it detects such conduct, it can impose sanctions on those who have committed such offences and make decisions regarding compensation for the victims of such conduct.
These ERCA operationalization legal texts went through various technical, ministerial and parliamentarian validation before being adopted by the Authority and the Council.
Following the adoption of these operational instruments, ERCA will embark on their dissemination and start the operation as expected.
ERCA wishes to express its gratitude to the Management of the ECOWAS Commission for its usual and relentless efforts to support its operation.