After numerous calls from various stakeholders both locally and internationally, Nigeria seems to be on the verge of finally adopting its long-awaited Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill (the Bill) which will introduce competition law in the country.
Moves to enact competition law had started in 2000 and several amendments to the initial proposal had been unsuccessfully presented to the Senate. The subsequent bills had either stalled at first reading stage, or disappeared from the legislative process. However, the Bill received its initial approval earlier in June this year and after being passed into law by the Senate, the Bill now faces the final hurdle of being assented by the President, by which it will become law. This is expected to be a mere formality.
AAT have closely monitored the development of the Bill from its infancy stages and although it has been in the making for some time, the introduction of competition law in Nigeria will be welcomed by most. For additional insights into the Bill, please see the following articles (here and here).
In summary, the Bill. once it comes into force, will replace the Consumer Protection Act and to create a new Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and Tribunal to enforce the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act.
The Bill has largely followed the model of other African countries who have successfully implemented antitrust and consumer protection enforcement and seeks to address all areas of competition such as price fixing, market allocation, collusive tendering and abuse of dominance. In addition hereto, the Bill would also seek to ensure and enhance product safety and consumer protection within Nigeria.
Notably, in line with the approach recently adopted in South Africa, the Bill includes criminal sanctions for individuals engaging in anticompetitive practices. In this regard, see here for a detailed assessment from AAT guest author Osayomwanbor Bob Enofe.
[The AAT editors thank Charl van Merwe for his assistance with this AAT update]