Bangladesh Competition Commission (BCC) has suggested taking steps against any possible anti-competitive activities for ensuring competitive allocation and spending of the government-announced stimulus funds aiming to keep the economic activities stable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has also recommended complying with the 'competition neutrality rules' for the utilisation of such funds.
The BCC which is under the commerce ministry put forward the recommendations to the finance ministry last month.
The commission wants to provide technical assistance to identify and remedy any anti-competitive activities if observed.
The BCC views that it is necessary to be alerted about these issues which go against the competition act/policy during the operation and implementation of the funds at beneficiary level.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced a set of stimulus packages of over Tk 1.0 trillion to offset the Covid-19 shock on various sectors of the country. It is called state aid according to the competition act.
The state entity hopes that responsible agencies or organisations will perform their respective duty with transparency and neutrality.
The competition commission works as the market developer including market regulator with an eye to expedite the economic growth. Gross domestic product or GDP has increased some 2/3 per cent, a source in BCC said.
Unfortunately, the world has been going through hard times due to the lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. Bangladesh has also been hit hard by the pandemic.
When contacted, Chairperson of Bangladesh Competition Commission Md. Mofizul Islam said, "We have suggested the ministry concerned utilize the government's stimulus package in a competitive way."
In the context of competition, there are some anti-competitive tools. Of the tools, generally, by nature, state aid is one kind of anti-competitive tools. It is prohibited. But aid has to be provided or declared during different recessions for the greater interests of the country's economy, a senior commission official said.
In 2012, the Competition Act was enacted in the country. The act has been formulated to promote, ensure and sustain congenial atmosphere for the competition in trade, and to prevent, control and eradicate collusion, monopoly and oligopoly, combination or abuse of dominant position or activities adverse to the competition, according to the BCC.
"A letter sent by the state entity was received last month. We are working on the issue," a desk official of the division said.