The effectiveness of the Competition Commission of Pakistan has been proved by the stability in the cement prices at a lower level of PKR220-240 per bag.
Cement rates during past four years did come down to this level for a brief period of two to three weeks otherwise the rates fluctuated from PKR280 per bag to PKR380 per bag.
This time around the stability of lower cement rates has been extended to over three months. It is pertinent to note that the cement manufacturers have not yet paid any fine as they have challenged the penalties imposed by the CCP in the courts, however the consumers got a relief because the cartel like prices no more existed.
At a recent meeting of the consultative group of CCP many businessmen agreed that the vigilance of the CCP has acted as a deterrent against anti-competitive behaviour by the entrepreneurs.
Some of them though argued that the penalties levied on the cement manufacturers were harsh adding that they were now showing better behavior. However CCP Chairman Khalid Mirza explained that the cumulative amount of over PKR6bn might look high but it was only 7.5 per cent of the turnover of the mills for the period they were found guilty of cartelised behaviour.
He said the CCP is authorized to impose penalties up to 15 per cent of the turnover in case enterprises are found guilty of cartelisation.