NAIROBI, Kenya, October 5 – Market watchdog, Competition Association of Kenya has raised concerns of a renewed momentum by various professional associations seeking to illegally set minimum chargeable prices for their members.
The Authority’s Director-General, Wang’ombe Kariuki warned that professional bodies found liable of fixing service prices for its members will be liable to a fine of Shs 10 million and imprisonment for a maximum of five years or both.
He, however, did not single out some of the associations violating the Competition Act.
“Notwithstanding the aforementioned provision of the Act, the authority would like to remind professional service associations that Section 29 of the Act provides that a professional association whose rules contain a restriction that has the effect of preventing, distorting, or lessening competition in a market shall apply in writing in the prescribed manner to the authority for an exemption,” a statement issued read in part.
Kariuki noted that the move is only meant to extinguish competition among members of the professional associations to the detriment of clients.
“The envisaged arrangements of setting minimum rates/fees, are only meant to extinguish competition among members of the professional associations to the detriment of clients/consumers,” he said.
The law prohibits associations of undertakings from making decisions or engaging in concerted practices which directly fix purchases or selling prices or any other trading conditions in relation to the provision of goods and services.
The regulator has previously fined several firms which colluded to set minimum prices including paint manufacturers.