The Competition Authority (CA) has over the 2016/17 financial year closed a number of cases that it dealt with. This is according to the Authority’s annual report for the 2016/17 financial year which was released on Thursday. One of those cases involved a number of companies, namely Prior worth (Pty) Ltd, Gabana Architects, Projectium (Pty) Ltd, Pro-Facilities (Pty) Ltd, Tagola Properties (Pty) Ltd and Mercury (Pty) Ltd which all had a case against Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). These companies are said to have complained about anti-competitive conduct by the University. It was alleged that the conduct of BIUST on their tender bidding process in relation to Tender No: BIUST 16-17/008, which is, ‘A service contract for the provision of facilities management to BIUST’ was discriminatory in that it lacked fairness expected from a tender reserved for citizens. According to the Authority’s annual report released this week, evidence gathered revealed that the set requirements by BIUST, such as qualification and experience, audited financial statements, professional indemnity and intent to provide parent guarantee set by BIUST, were a deviation from the tender specification requirements as endorsed by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB). The Authority says the case was closed and advocacy driven initiatives with PPADB were carried out so as to ensure that government procuring entities, including BIUST, comply with tender specification requirements as endorsed by PPADB. “Non-compliant tenders have the likelihood to create an anti-competitive business environment. Following the Authority’s intervention, BISUT cancelled the tender,” the report said.
Another case which the Authority dealt with involved a company known as Precious Foods (Pty) Ltd against Trade World (Pty) Ltd and Sefalana Cash and Carry Ltd. The complainant in the case, Precious Foods (Pty) Ltd which engages in the salt trade, alleged that Trade World (Pty) Ltd and Sefalana Cash and Carry Ltd refused to ‘list’ its product. Evidence collected is said to have shown that the conduct by Sefalana Cash and Carry and Trade World did not amount to refusal to deal but rather the complainant did not honour the listing application process and its pricing for supplying Trade World was not competitive. The case has since been closed as there was no contravention of any sections of the Competition Act. One the cases handled by the Authority concerned government departments in which the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Botswana lodged a complaint with CA alleging discriminatory conduct by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Director of Health Services., in which they prevent nurses and midwives from entering private practice, hence creating inconsistencies in the licensing of Nurses and Midwives. CA says the inquiry revealed that over the period from 1993 to 2014, there were notable inconsistencies in the licensing of nurses and midwives which had the potential to create anti-competitive effects. The evidence is said to have indicated that such inconsistencies in the licensing of nurses and midwifes emanates from laws which are not clear with regard to midwives participation in the private sector. The case was closed and referred to advocacy driven initiatives to the Minister of Health and Wellness. The Authority recommended that the Nurses Act be reviewed and the Ministry responsible is said to have confirmed that it is currently reviewing the two Acts and this has been catered for.