About Fiji Commerce Commission
Fiji Commerce Commission (“Commission”) is the Competition Regulator of Fijian. The Commission is an independent statutory body established under Section 7 of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 to ensure the integrated framework for the regulation of monopoly market structures; encourage competition, prevent restrictive trade practices, ensure consumer protection, and undertake pricing of public utilities and other price controlled items.
Fiji Commerce Commission seeks to maintain and encourage the competitive process with a view to promoting economic efficiency and consumer welfare. Its objective is to spur firms and individual players in the market to compete with each other to secure the patronage of customers in terms of, inter alia, competitive prices, good quality and greater choice for them. This objective of the Commission ensures a fair and equitable market and provides the stimulus for growth.
The aim of the Commission is to ensure delivery of benefits of competition regime in Fijian vis-á-vis economic development, greater efficiency in international trade and consumer welfare. The Commission’s objective is to ensure substantial benefits from the strengthening of the application of competition policy principles in terms of “greater production, allocative and dynamic efficiency, welfare and growth.” The Commission notes that competition rewards good performance, encourages entrepreneurial activity, catalyses entry of new firms, promotes greater efficiency on the part of enterprises, reduces cost of production, improves competitiveness of enterprises and sanctions poor performance by producers, ensures product quality, cheaper prices and passing on of cost savings to consumers. The Commission is a multi-sector regulator. It regulates Competition, pricing and is also a consumer protection agency.
Objectives of the Commission
The objectives of the Fiji Commerce Commission are clearly outlined in Section 2 of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 and are as follows:
- The promotion of the interests of the Consumers;
- The promotion of the effective and efficient development of industry trade or commerce;
- The need to secure effective competition in industry, trade or commerce; and
- To ensure equitable returns for businesses with fair and reasonable prices charged to consumers.
The Commission has the following objectives in relation to regulated industries and access regimes-
- To promote effective competition in the interests of consumers;
- To facilitate an approximate balance between efficiency and environmental and social considerations;
- To ensure non-discriminatory access to monopoly and near monopoly infrastructure or services.
Functions of the Commission
The functions of Fiji Commerce Commission are stipulated under Section 15 of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 and are as follows:
- Administering the Commerce Commission Decree 2010;
- Maintenance of a register of access agreements;
- Provision of advice to the Minister about proposed access agreements;
- Facilitation of negotiations about access to infrastructure facilities or services under access regimes;
- Arbitration of disputes about access to infrastructure facilities or services under access regimes;
Promoting the interests of consumers and persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers and to assist, them to a greater awareness in relation to their assessment and use of goods or services;
Collecting, examining and disseminating information in respect of matters affecting or likely to affect the interests of consumers or persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers;
Receiving and considering complaints concerning matters affecting or likely to affect the interests of consumers or persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers and, if the Commission is of the opinion that such action is warranted, to investigate the complaints and take such action in respect thereof as seems proper to the Commission;
Investigating fraudulent or deceptive practices in relation to matters that affect or are likely to affect the interests of consumers or persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers and to take such action in respect of the practices as seems proper to the Commission;
Advising and assisting persons who seek from the Commission information or guidance on matters affecting or likely to affect their interests as consumers or as persons negotiating or considering the acquisition of goods or services as consumers;
Encouraging and undertake the dissemination of information concerning consumer affairs to producers, manufacturers and suppliers of goods or services;
Keeping under review commercial activities carried on and to collect information regarding such activities and the persons whom they are carried on, with a view to becoming aware of, and ascertaining the circumstances relating to;
Fixing and declaring maximum prices and where need be, quantities, for goods and services and rents;
Provision of policy advice to the Minister on matters relating to competition and matters of national interest;
Conducting independent competition and pricing study for goods and services offered in limited competitive markets.
Discharging such other functions as the Minister may direct or are conferred on the Commission by or under the Commerce Commission Decree, 2010 or any other written law.
The Commission has the following functions in relation to regulated industries-
- The provision of advice to the Minister about proposed access agreements;
- The maintenance of a register of access agreements;
- The facilitation of negotiations about access to infrastructure facilities or services under access regimes;
- The arbitration of disputes about access to infrastructure facilities or services under access regimes;
If, under a law relating to a regulated industry, the referring authority delegates to the Commission the power to impose, modify or revoke conditions in respect of licences granted under that law – the imposition, modification and revocation of those conditions in accordance with the relevant delegation;
Corporate Governance Practice
The Commission must:
- Act with honesty and in good faith with loyalty and in the best interest of the Organization;
- Avoid conflict of interest; and
Observe the confidentiality of non-public information acquired by them as Board members and not disclose it to any other person without the authority of the Board.
The Commission must ensure that:
- Resources are used efficiently and appropriately;
- Performance is measured;
- Financial integrity is assured;
- Every stakeholder is treated with equality and utmost respect;
- Utmost professionalism and commission integrity is maintained at all time;
- Team work and national interest is of paramount importance;
- Public trust is maintained; and
There is a proper and clear channel of communication between the Organization, Board, Minister and the Ministry.
The Commerce Commission Decree 2010 empowers the Commission to recommend to the Minister to make a statutory order to control prices in the industries where competition is limited or is likely to be lessened and where it is necessary or desirable that the price of this good or service be controlled in the interests of users, consumers or suppliers. Where a statutory order is enforced, the Commission is empowered to set the new prices.
Price control is important for several reasons namely – it prevents industries that are in a monopoly position from charging exorbitant prices and/or rentals and it protects the interest of the consumers.
The Commission is also concerned about business practices that infringe on the consumer’s right to receive a fair go when accessing or purchasing goods and services. Such conduct is viewed to be in contravention of the Commerce Commission Decree 2010
The Commission regularly holds public consultations on pricing issues. This process normally follows a submission by an entity (business or private individual) to the Commission to review the pricing of a good or service within the regulated industry.
Once the submissions are vetted and comments collated, the Commission issues a Draft Determination to all stakeholders. This document is then commented on by the stateholders and returned to the Commission. If there is a need for it, the Commission conducts and intensive research into the issue before the Final Determination is issued.