Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) CEO Vitalis Ndalikokule yesterday said the commission is well awake to take action to prevent unfair business practices. The commission is tasked with reducing anti-competitive behaviour that could lead to higher prices and reduced quality or service levels in Namibian markets.
Ndalikokule in an interview with New Era said this cautionary statement specifically applies to investors who are running to Namibia as a targeted destination due to its envisioned oil and gas sector and green hydrogen industry.
“We welcome investment in the economy, and any investor coming here needs to comply with the laws of the host country. Anti-competitive conduct affects local economic growth. When you have anti-competitive conduct in the economy, it severely restrains economic growth,” said Ndalikokule.
According to an African Wealth Report for March 2023, Namibia provides many opportunities for international investors seeking a foothold and growth on the African continent. These include tax incentives, financing and a one-stop bureau service for international companies.
“Namibia offers an attractive territorial tax system, which means that residents will not generally be taxed on income generated outside the country,” reads the report.
The report also referred to Namibia as Africa’s “new frontier”, as the country is expected to be one of the continent’s fastest-growing markets going forward, with high-net-worth growth of over 60% forecast for the next decade (to 2032). Meanwhile, the NaCC CEO added the commission is tasked with providing consumers with competitive prices and product choices, promoting employment and advancing the social economic welfare of Namibians.
Ndalikokule noted it remains imperative in terms of competition policy and law that all companies operating in the domestic market do comply.
He stated there are some companies that ignore these laws and involve themselves in anti-competitive conduct. The consequence is the commission needs to use its powers to ensure compliance.
He further stated there are a number of sectors in Namibia that are currently being investigated.
“Because of the nature of the economy, you may have a few companies operating in some sectors that can agree to charge the same price, causing a collision. This hinders consumers to have a choice and leads to a situation of taking it or leaving it. We are here to make sure consumers in the market get a choice. We are researching some sectors and I cannot pinpoint them as yet since investigations are ongoing,” said Ndalikokule.
The NaCC yesterday entered into an agreement with their Botswana counterpart, the Competition and Consumer Authority to formalise cooperation arrangements in the fields of competition law, enforcement and policy.
The agreement means the two competition authorities will cooperate and provide assistance to each other to the extent consistent with laws and regulations in the respective countries.