Competition Order ensures innovation, efficiency

Lyna Mohamad

More than 20 officials from the Survey Department under the Ministry of Development (MoD), licensed surveyors and members of Brunei Institution of Geomatics (BIG) recently attended a dialogue session on the Competition Order of 2015.

Facilitated by the Competition Commission of Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) through its Executive Secretariat at the Competition and Consumer Affairs Department, the session was held at the MoD building.

The dialogue session was initiated by the Survey Department, with the objective of learning about the benefits of the Competition Order, the key prohibitions, and the business do’s and don’ts in complying with the Order.

The Executive Secretariat to the CCBD emphasised that the Competition Order aims to promote a fair competitive process to achieve a more efficient market and better consumer welfare.

With competition, businesses are inspired to do their best to compete for consumers through prices and also the quality of goods and services.

Enhanced business innovation and efficiency are expected through the fair competition process, which will benefit consumers from wider choices with competitive prices and a higher quality of goods and services.

Participants during the dialogue session. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

The three key prohibitions of the Competition Order – Anti-Competitive Agreements, Abuse of Dominant Position and Anti-Competitive Mergers – were also delivered to the audience at the event.

The presentation covered the prohibition of the Anti-Competitive Agreements in detail, with references made to some regional competition cases.

The audience was also enlightened on the enforcement of Anti-Competitive Agreements, also known as cartels, which began this year, where businesses are prohibited to collude in price fixing, market-sharing, limiting supply and bid-rigging.

Exchanging of commercially sensitive market information between two or more businesses on profit margins, future prices, and market strategies may also raise concerns and risks of breaching the Competition Order 2015, which includes discussions made in meetings among the members of trade associations and professional bodies.

Tools to detect cartels, including the power of the CCBD to conduct market reviews in order to gain insights on market functions and inspect any competition issues in the market, were also discussed during the session.

It was also mentioned that the Competition Order provides a leniency provision which offers immunity to a member of a cartel who is the first to come forward in giving useful information and full cooperation to the CCBD, as well as the availability of the complaint mechanism. This mechanism includes online complaint form at the CCBD website.

At the end of the session participants engaged in an interactive dialogue, deliberating on matters regarding scale of fees, tender practices and local business development policy.

The handbook on Guidelines on Competition for Business and leaflet on Frequently Asked Questions on the Competition Order, published by the CCBD, was also distributed to the participants.