ZAMBIA: AIRTEL MONEY AND FARM DEPOT FINED FOR ANTI-COMPETITIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES

By Bwalya Chilufya-Musonda Monday, January 23, 2023
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The Board of Commissioners of the Zambian Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has fined Airtel Money, a mobile money service provider, and Avian Ventures Ltd, an agro-retail business trading as Farm Depot Zambia, 3% of their respective annual turnovers for abuse of dominance in breach of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2010 (Competition Act).

The decision to fine the two companies was made during the 59th Board of Commissioners meeting on the adjudication of cases held on 5 December 2022.

The CCPC announced that Airtel Money unfairly increased cash collection and cash disbursement fees among different sports betting companies and applied dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions, thereby abusing its dominant position of market power contrary to the Competition Act.

Farm Depot Zambia, on the other hand, was fined for engaging in restrictive business practices. Investigations by the CCPC revealed that Farm Depot Zambia made the purchase of day-old chicks subject to the purchase of chicken feed. This meant that a customer could only purchase day-old chicks from Farm Depot Zambia if they purchased chicken feed as well.

Farm Depot Zambia therefore flouted the Competition Act by imposing unfair trading conditions and making the conclusion of contracts subject to the acceptance of supplementary conditions, which by their nature or according to commercial usage have no connection with the subject matter of the contracts.

The CCPC is concerned that product tying places small and medium-sized enterprises at a financial disadvantage as they are forced to purchase products they would not otherwise have purchased and will incur losses associated with low demand products.

Farm Depot Zambia has since been directed to desist from compelling purchasers of day-old chicks to purchase chicken feed as well.