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CCP to resume inquiry in sudden increase in retail prices of edible oil prices

CCP Photo Courtesy: File

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) will resume an inquiry to ascertain the reasons behind the sudden increase in the retail prices of cooking oil and ghee after the Supreme Court suspended the decision of the Islamabad High Court dated September 14, 2021.

On July 30, 2020, the CCP, taking notice of an unexplained increase in the retail prices of vegetable oil and ghee, initiated an inquiry under Section 37 (1) of the Competition Act, 2010, to ascertain the prima facie violations of Section 3 and/or Section 4 of the act in the edible oil and ghee prices.

The increase in ghee and cooking oil prices was unusual as palm oil prices, the primary raw material in its manufacturing, witnessed a downward trend internationally during January-May 2020.

The inquiry team sought information and relevant data from the industry players. On non-cooperation from some companies in sharing the data, the commission passed a “Call for Information” order under Section 36 of the act in November 2020; however, one of the companies, Dalda Foods, obtained a stay order from the Islamabad High Court against the Section 36 order for providing information to the commission on November 18, 2020.

Later, the Islamabad High Court through its order dated September 14, 2021 ruled in favour of the petitioner.

The commission immediately filed a leave to appeal against the order before the Supreme Court and the case was fixed for hearing on November 22, 2021.

The Supreme Court granted leave to appeal to the CCP to consider the various important legal questions, which arises in relation to the impugned judgement.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court has suspended the operation of the judgement of the Islamabad High Court dated September 14, 2021, till the final decision of the CCP’s appeal before the Supreme Court.

Accordingly, the Competition Commission of Pakistan would resume its inquiry.

On July 8, 2021, the CCP had carried out four search and inspections on the offices of Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA) in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, and impounded several documents and computer-stored information for assistance in its inquiry.

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