Competition Commission of Pakistan conducts search operation at PVMA offices

Web DeskWeb Editor

08th Jul, 2021. 08:29 pm

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Thursday carried out a search and inspection of the Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) office located in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, a statement said.

The operation was conducted after alleged violations of Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act, 2010 in the edible oil and ghee sector, it added.

The commission impounded documents and computer-stored information relating to the suspected role of the association in anti-competitive activities. Three different teams of authorised officers entered and searched the premises of PVMA, and seized important information.

The Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association officials fully cooperated with the search teams and handed over the required documents and computer-stored information after signing the inventory details, it said.

During the investigation, the CCP’s inquiry committee observed that PVMA is an association of 125 edible oil and ghee manufacturers, and as per the media reports, it seems that they are involved in collective price-fixing of retail prices of various brands of cooking oil and ghee for different market segments.

Data available with the inquiry committee also indicates that PVMA circulates freight charges among its member mills/companies and frequently revises these charges as a result of an increase/decrease in the prices of high-speed diesel.

Such deliberations at the level of the association appear to be a prima facie, contravention of Section 4 of Competition Act, 2010, the commission said.

It appears from the suspected anti-competitive behaviour of PVMA that its platform is being used for taking collective business decisions with respect to the prices of oil/ghee and its cost components. The Competition Act prohibits such business practices, the statement said.

The impounded record with the inquiry committee may provide evidence/proof of the possible role of the association and other undertakings in the recent hike in prices of edible oil and ghee.

The CCP is mandated to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activities to enhance economic efficiency, and to protect consumers from anti-competitive behaviour, including price-fixing of essential commodities, it added.

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