The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has been facilitating various initiatives geared at promoting competitive markets and improvement in consumer welfare.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (August 24), Executive Director at the FTC, David Miller, said the entity has been collaborating with various Government entities, financial institutions and sectors to improve their operations and processes.
“We have been collaborating with the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) in looking at ways to improve financial inclusion in our country, that is, bringing more persons into the ‘bankable sector’,” Mr. Miller said.
The Executive Director added that another initiative involves a study being conducted by the Commission on competition in the commercial banking sector.
“There are a number of commercial banks in the sector but there are credit unions and small loan entities offering similar services to consumers who are not necessarily able to obtain a loan from the bank. So, we have come together to recognise these situations and finding ways to allow persons to reap the benefits of the commercial banking framework that we have in our country,” Mr. Miller explained.
He further highlighted that the FTC is in the process of creating a formal merger review framework, which is a method through which various issues are addressed before a merger takes place.
Mr. Miller explained that this process will mean amendments to the legislation; informing the stakeholders in the key sectors; and conducting ongoing consultations with the existing regulators.
“So, the FTC will look closely at the issues, conduct interviews with the parties and make best efforts to ensure that consumers are not affected when an acquisition or merger takes place,” he said.
Another initiative that the Executive Director highlighted is its thrust with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries to get the management systems of its various departments and agencies ISO certified.
As the FTC celebrates its 25th anniversary in September, Mr. Miller reflected that the Commission has made significant contributions to key sectors, particularly telecommunication, construction and agriculture.
“We have also conducted several activities over the years aimed at informing the general public about the dos and don’ts of the competition policy. We also target particular groups of persons such as academia, economists, and attorneys being trained at the universities and also judges, as they play an important role in delivering judgments of the Fair Competition Act. So, we have collaborated with the Chief Justices over the years to conduct focused training of judges to inform them of our area of law,” Mr. Miller outlined.
To celebrate its 25 years of operation, the FTC will be hosting a series of events in September, including a symposium, church service and several lectures.
A special 25th anniversary newspaper supplement will be published on Sunday, September 9 to provide a brief history of the Commission and highlight its role in the promotion of competitive markets and improvement in consumer welfare.
The FTC is the administrative body responsible for implementing the Fair Competition Act (FCA).
It makes available to businesses and consumers, general information with respect to their rights and obligations under the FCA; undertake studies and publicise reports and information regarding matters affecting the interests of consumers; and co-operate with and assist any association in developing and promoting the observance of standards of conduct for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the FCA.