Monday, September 21, 2009

TBL, EABL battle: Call for establishment of East African Competition Tribunal

DAILY NEWS Reporter, 20th September 2009 @ 14:34
THE Tanzania Consumers Advocacy Society (TCAS), has recommended for establishment of East African Competition Tribunal which will harmonise the regional competition legislation, following the legal wrangle between the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and the Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL).

The TCAS chairman, Mr Damon Mwakyembe, said there was no need for companies in the region to go to UK for competition dispute arbitration. The two beer companies are seeking arbitration in the UK, following the decision by EABL to buy substantial shares in Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL). “Such tribunal will apply rules of competition, in respect of anti-competitive cross border business and promote and protect competition in the community.

We do not have to go to UK for competition dispute arbitration in future,” said Mwakyembe, the former Director General of Tanzania Bureau Service (TBS). He said while consumer groups need to support and encourage public awareness of competition issues, still restrictive practices could affect consumers when making shopping choices.

On the EABL/TBL dispute, Mr Mwakyembe said the possible divorce of the two should respect contractual obligations of the two companies.

He, however, said that Tanzanians have the right to discuss possible merger between SBL and EABL, because eventually consumers would be the ones to benefit or suffer by such decision.

The Chief Executive Officer for Parasol Real Estate Agent & Developers Limited, Mr Bernard Kihiyo, said that fairness was key in the free market economy.

Mr Kihiyo who is also the Executive Director for TCAS, said in April 2007; his organisation, conducted a survey to 3,000 respondents in five regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Coastal, Mwanza and Dar es Salaam on competition.

He said 33 per cent of respondents said the merger of TBL and Kibo Breweries in 2002, had some anti-competitive arrangements that had serious consequences on beer prices.


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