What is the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission?
FCCC promotes the ethos od creating a dynamic and competitive market in Fiji by promoting the objectives of the FCCC Act 2010.
When it comes to arresting and eliminating unethical behaviour of unscrupulous traders who take advantage of consumers, so that consumers get the best benefit from competition, one name comes to mind - FCCC.
In just a few short years, the Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission (FCCC) has come a long way from the days when it was known as the Fiji Commerce Commission. FCCC ensures that consumers are treated fairly and that traders are doing business without engaging in conduct that is unethical or illegal. Simply, FCCC ensures that the Fijian markets work well for all Fijians. Section 7 of the Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission Act 2010 empowers FCCC to promote effective competition, informed markets and fair trading, protecting consumers and businesses from restrictive practices, and controlling prices of regulated industries and other markets where competition is lessened or limited.
FCCC promotes the ethos of creating a dynamic and competitive market in Fiji by promoting the objectives of the FCCC Act 2010. Operating as an independent statutory body, it ensures that regulations are followed through with the use of a variety of compliance tools, making sure to use the most appropriate tool necessary to obtain compliance, and when required, to promote general deterrence.
FCCC’s region of responsibility is for the entire Fijian population that includes maritime areas and Rotuma.
The Objectives of FCCC
Section 2 of the FCCC Act 2010 defines the objectives of FCCC as follows:
The interests of consumers are protected by promoting effective and efficient development of industry trade or commerce and securing effective competition within those fields. All this while still ensuring equitable returns for businesses with fair and reasonable prices charged to consumers. When it comes to regulated industries and access regimes, FCCC aims at promoting effective competition, facilitating an approximate balance between efficiency and environmental and social considerations and ensuring non-discriminatory access to monopoly and near-monopoly infrastructure or services.
All this is underpinned by working at ensuring that consumers are informed of these goals and their implementation.
The Functions of FCCC
The main function of FCCC is administering the FCCC Act 2010.
For consumers, this can mean receiving and considering complaints concerning matters affecting or likely to affect the interests of consumers such as fraud and deception, and taking action where required. Information regarding consumers’ rights is made accessible to consumers via both mainstream and social media and their website. Another primary function is the dissemination of information concerning consumer affairs to producers, manufacturers and suppliers of goods or services so they know the regulations.
Monitoring of commercial activities is also carried out to collect information and ensure everything is above board.
The Different FCCC Divisions
FCCC is comprised of several divisions that are responsible for different functions. These are the Corporate and Finance division, Legal, Risk Management and Governance division, Economic Regulation division, Price control and Monitoring division, and Competition and Compliance division. The Corporate & Finance Division supports the other divisions through the delivery of key corporate services. It does so by overseeing the functions of human resources, finance, procurement, information technology and administration.
FCCC gets all legal expertise necessary through the Legal, Risk Management and Governance division and the Economic Regulation Division is responsible for determining the prices of the products that are controlled by FCCC and undertaking independent analysis and review on any industry engaged in the supply of essential services. Price Control and Monitoring performs a major core function of controlling prices of goods and services where competition is restricted or lessened or as the Commission deems necessary. It undertakes price reviews and costing assessments of price control goods and services and ensures compliance with the price control.
Finally, the Competition and Compliance division enforces competition and compliant provisions. This is done by investigating complaints relating to restrictive and unfair trade practices relating to the supply of goods and services in the Fijian market. Other roles include promoting awareness of consumers, working together with consumer bodies, making available to consumers information and guidelines relating to the obligation of persons and the rights and remedies available under the FCCC Act 2010.
The Future of FCCC
Of utmost importance to FCCC for the future is to keep ensuring that consumer rights are protected and the current regulatory system is modernised as time goes along to keep pace with any challenges that may occur in the future as well as for smoother operation and efficiency.
This includes the review of the FCCC Act 2010, and work commencing on the development of a National Competition and Consumer Policy framework.
FCCC also intends to continue its commitment to social equity and inclusion. For example, this year, they won the Women in Business award for Employer of Choice.
On that note, their societal responsibilities include the promotion of gender equality, awareness sessions on consumer protection, trader compliance, stakeholder strategic plan awareness, corporate responsibilities and contributions to charity. Continued growth of the FCCC’s presence at a national and regional level is also critical and in the coming years, the goal is to pursue a trusted collaborative working relationship with the industries and strategic partners to enable effective good governance, risk management, detection and disruption of restrictive and unfair trade practices.
Ultimately, there are four basic goals; ensure markets for goods and services in Fiji are competitive, goods and services are safe for consumers and they are provided with adequate and accurate information about goods and services, regulation is applied where competition does not suffice to do so and to maintain FCCC’s role as an independent and expert body.