CCP looks into legality of TV licence fee -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

CCP looks into legality of TV licence fee

* Initiates inquiry to determine whether TV licence fee charged along with utility bill is legitimate

By Sajid Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has initiated an enquiry to determine whether the Rs 35 per month television lenience fee charged along with electricity bill is legitimate or otherwise.

The CCP enquiry is examining the aspect whether the charging of TV licence fee is abuse of dominance in the market, tying the service or legitimate right of the Pakistan Television (PTV). CCP, If found necessary, would issue policy note on the issue to the government.

Responding to a query on the issue of PTV fee, CCP Chairperson Rahat Kaunain Hasan told Tuesday that the CCP is looking into the issue of the fee being charged by the PTV to see whether it is the legitimate justified charges or abuse of dominance. Sharing the recent achievements of the CCP, Chairperson stated that the CCP has increased the pace of enforcement actions against the cartels and companies involved in collusive behavior and deceptive marketing practices. However, there is an urgent need for the financial autonomy of the CCP for which the regulatory bodies must provide 3 percent fee of the collected charges.

About the present structure of the commission, CCP Chairperson stated that at present the commission is working with full strength and now there is a need for mid level professionals having full command over competition laws and its enforcement. “Presently it is a full working commission including six members including Chairperosn”, she added. The CCP has started investigations in a large number of cases for consumer protection and cartelisation. The commission is also looking in the issue of price hike of bottled water sold in bulk. The CCP is examining the issue of the suppliers of such bottled water for checking increase in the price of bottled water. The builders association has approached the CCP to check the price hike of cement, which would be examined by the commission.

When asked about evidence collected during inspection of offices of Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA), she said that the CCP has collected bulk of information during inspections of the offices of the PVMAs, which is presently being examined by the enquiry officers. The CCP has found prima-facie evidence related to competition from the documents impounded during inspection of these offices.

Talking about the improvement in compliance level by the business and trade, Rahat stated that the commission has recovered Rs 16 million from jute mills in the case of cartelization. This is for the first time that a cartel has not only admitted its mistake but also deposited penalty of Rs 16 million, reflecting significant improvement in compliance by the undertakings. The commission had imposed the penalty on the Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) for involvement in collusive activities in production and supply of jute bags.

To another question, she said that the early hearing of cases of cartels is necessary at the level of judical fora to expedite pending matters. She added that the CCP is planning to arrange an international conference at Islamabad to share global experience by the best competition agencies of the world. Rahat Kaunain Hasan added that the reports of Aviation and Power Sector Pakistan have been finalized by the CCP and sectoral study reports have been published for public comments covering private schooling sector; health care sector; polyester staple fiber sector; automobiles sector and cooking oil and ghee sector.

Sharing the advocacy activities of the commission during July 27 2010 till to date, the commission officials have addressed the discussion forum with ACCA Pakistan. The commission also convened the CCG meeting, seminar with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce, seminar with Lahore Economics Journalists Association, meetings with regulators i.e. SECP & PEMRA and media interaction through interviews in both the electronic and print media.

Giving details of the CCP performance, She informed that CCP have issued 219 show cause notices and out of which 47 have been issued in last six months, CCP has passed a total of 32 orders and 6 were announced in last six months. CCP has initiated completed some 19 enquiry reports and 4 have been completed in last six months, some 4 search and inspections were carried out by CCP since its creation and 2 of such were conducted during last six months. CCP has completed some 9 study reports on banking, cement, fertilizer and sugar sectors as well as recently concluded private schooling, health care, polyester staple fiber, automobile and cooking oil and ghee sector. CCP has arranged some 19 sessions on advocacy of CCP law and its implications on different sectors of the economy across the country. CCP has issued a total of 206 merger NOCs, some 250 exemptions have been granted and some 06 policy notes have been issued.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/23/2011