Wheat flour crisis: CCP seizes record from PFMA office

ISLAMABAD: The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Tuesday seized important documents during a search and inspection of the Pakistan Flour Mills Association’s (PFMA) premises in Lahore.

The raided was conducted following a discovery of fresh information made available vis-à-vis prima facie collusion in the wheat flour sector, a news statement issued by the commission said.

The CCP, in its recent order on December 13, 2019, had imposed a penalty of Rs75 million on the association for taking decisions with respect to fixing the price of wheat flour and the quantities of production of wheat flour by its member mills.

The commission, in its order, had issued directions to the PFMA that discussions, deliberations and decisions regarding current and future pricing, production and marketing were anticompetitive and should be avoided at all costs by the associations.

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Despite the foregoing directions, based on the information received by the CCP, the PFMA and its members were apparently involved in prohibited conduct under the Competition Act.

Through its various enforcement orders, the CCP had issued guidelines with reference to conduct/role of associations in any sector.

The association may engage in activities that increase awareness of standards and technologies and may also make effort to develop consensus amongst its members regarding public policies.

However, the association should not, at any cost, indulge in any activity which may violate the act.

The rule of thumb is that the association is not allowed to discuss, deliberate or share sensitive commercial information that may allow its members, who are competitors, to co-ordinate business policy, the statement concludes.

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