Zimbabwe: from the enforcer
Email: [email protected]
Questions and answers
How long is the head of agency’s term of office?
Five years, renewable once.
When is he or she due for reappointment?
Which posts within the organisation are political appointments?
What is the agency’s annual budget?
How many staff are employed by the agency?
To whom does the head of the agency report?
Board of Commissioners.
Do any industry-specific regulators have competition powers?
While the Competition and Tariff Commission has the overall decision on competition matters, there are sector regulators who also handle competition matters such as the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority for the energy sector, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe for the telecommunications sector.
If so, how do these relate to your agency’s role?
The Commission has signed memorandum of understanding that allow for collaboration when either regulator is handling a competition matter.
May politicians overrule or disregard authority’s decisions? If they have ever exercised this right, describe the most recent example.
The Commission has total independence and this has never happened.
Does the law allow non-competition aims to be considered when your agency takes decisions?
The law does not necessarily allow for non-competition aims but gives consideration to public interest issues to be considered when making decisions on competition issues.
Which body hears appeals against the agency’s decisions? Is there any form of judicial review beyond that mentioned above? If so, which body conducts this? Has any competition decision by the agency been overturned?
Appeals against decisions of the Commission are filed at the Administrative Court. To date, none of the Commission’s decisions have been overturned.
Has the authority ever blocked a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instance.
Yes, the authority has blocked a proposed merger recently. However, the details are not yet public as the case is still being considered by the parties have appealed to the Administrative Court.
Has the authority ever imposed conditions on a proposed merger? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
The Commission approved a transaction in the tobacco sector between a registered investment trust company – part of a group whose main interest is cigarette manufacturing and distribution to companies in Southern Africa and Zimbabwean company whose core business is purchasing of packed tobacco from tobacco merchants and processing for resale to local and offshore markets in the form of cut rag. The transaction was approved on condition that, the acquiring company, its affiliates or successors in title shall:
- continue to supply other cigarette manufacturers with cut rag and cut rag processing services at non-discriminatory terms and conditions of supply that include,interalia, prices, quality and delivery terms,
- submit to the Commission, on annual basis, information in relation to the quantities of cut rag sold and cut rag services rendered to cigarette manufacturers including prices and delivery terms, and
- seek authorisation in terms of section 35 of the Competition Act [Chapter 14:28], if for any reason(s), the merged entity intends to deviate from (1) above.
Conditions have also been imposed on players in the seed production and FMCG sectors, among others.
Has the authority conducted a Phase II investigation in any of its merger filings? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
Has the authority ever pursued a company based outside your jurisdiction for a cartel offence? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
The Commission has not investigated a company outside its jurisdiction for cartel offences. However, with the recently introduced restrictive practice division within the Commission we expect an increase in competition enforcement in the near future.
Do you operate a leniency programme? Whom should potential applicants contact? What discounts are available to companies that cooperate with cartel investigations?
The current Legislation Competition Act 14:28 does not provide for a leniency programme. However, the commission is in the process of reviewing its act where a leniency programme will be provided for.
Is there a criminal enforcement track? If so, who is responsible for it? Does the authority conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions for cartel activity? If not, is there another authority in the country that does?
Currently,the Commission is not empowered to undertake criminal investigations it, therefore, recommends cases to Zimbabwe's police for prosecution.
Are there any plans to reform the competition law?
Yes, The Commission is in the process of reviewing its act and a draft amendment bill has been discussed in parliament and is now waiting for further comments.
When did the last review of the law occur?
The law has been reviewed following the 2012 peer review under the auspices of UNCTAD. Work is being done to gazette the law in 2020/2021.
Do you have a separate economics team? If so, please give details.
YES. The Commission has two operational divisions that deals with competition, namely, mergers and acquisitions division and restrictive practice division. The two divisions have two separate economics teams that specialise in these areas.
Has the authority conducted a dawn raid?
Yes in 2014, in the telecommunications sector and in 2020 when investigating the bread baking sector.
Have the authority imposed penalties on officers or directors of companies for offences committed by the company? If yes, please provide the most recent instances.
What are the pre-merger notification thresholds, if any, for the buyer and seller involved in a merger?
Premerger notification threshold is currently valued (i) at or above Z$10 million combined turnover from Zimbabwe or (ii) at or above Z$10 million assets in Zimbabwe.
Are there any restrictions on investments that involve less than a majority stake in the business?
How many economists do you employ?
The Commission employs eight economists in the mergers and acquisitions division and restrictive practise division and its research unit. The restrictive practice division was operationalised in 2020 and the Commission is currently in the process of recruiting more staff for the division. Currently,the mergers and acquisition division has four economists, while the restrictive practice division has two economists and two are in the research unit.
Do you have a separate economics unit?
The Commission does not have a separate economics unit but has a research unit that assists the Commission through undertaking studies in any sector of the economy. The research unit also assists the other operational divisions in undertaking complex investigations.
Do you have a chief economist?
The Commission does not have an overall chief economist but each division has a chief economist.
To whom does the chief economist report?
The chief economist reports to the assistant director of the division.
Does the chief economist have the power to hire his or her own staff?
No – this responsibility is undertaken by the assistant director who heads the division.
How many of your economists have a PhD in industrial economics?
Does the agency include a specialist economist on every case team? If not, why not?
Not applicable. The Commission does not have financial resources to hire specialist economists. It uses internally recruited economists and sets up case teams that take into account prior experience in a particular sector being investigated.
Is the economics unit a ‘second pair of eyes’ during cases – is it one of the agency’s checks and balances? If not, why not?
Not applicable. The Commission has an Operations Committee of the Directorate, composed of management and economists from the three operational divisions and research unit that provide a "second pair of eyes" on every case.
How much economics work is outsourced? What type of work is outsourced?
The Commission does not frequently outsource economics work due to limited financial resources. It is only under special circumstances that it outsources economics work. For example, in 2014, the Commission outsourced economics work from a foreign consulting company to assist in the investigation of a complex banking-telecommunications case and also outsourced consultancy services for an investigation into municipality services