Policy and Research Department

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What does the Research Department do?

The Department mainly conducts scoping studies and market inquiries with the aim of contributing to competition policy. These studies also seek to establish and address consumer issues in different markets. The Department is also in charge of conducting impact assessment studies.

2) What is a scoping study?     

A scoping study is an initial study of a specific market or industry conducted with the aim of assessing whether there are competition concerns. The scoping study can lead to a full scale market inquiry.

3) What are the steps involved when conducting a scoping study?

When conducting a scoping study there is minimal interaction with the players in the particular industry / sector. A scoping study mainly involves conducting secondary research more than primary research.

4) What is a market inquiry?

A market inquiry is a full scale study of a market which involves interactions with a significant number of players in the particular industry. A market inquiry often follows after a scoping study.

5) What is the purpose of market inquiries?

Market inquiries examine the causes of constraints to market performance and in extreme instances causes of market failure. They involve analysis of the structure of markets and the nature of competition in those markets without prior identification of conduct or practices of firms operating in those markets. They can be used to identify aspects of competition or consumer protection concerns that need to be addressed, thereby complementing merger control, enforcement directed to cartels, abuse of positions of dominance and other anti-competitive practices as well as advocacy.

6) How are market inquiries selected?

The Commission employs a wide array of sources to identify possible markets in which to conduct a market enquiry. These include:

a) Complaints from businesses and trade associations;

b) Suggestions made by Government and regulatory bodies;

c) Concerns that arise from merger analysis, enforcement matters and advocacy work;

d) Complaints from consumer protection agencies and consumer association/forum;

e) Information gathered from publicly available sources; and

f) Suggestions from Board of Commissioners.

The information is cross-checked with other sources of information before initiation of an inquiry.

7) What are the steps / stages involved in conducting a market inquiry?

There are six steps / stages

  • Pre-Launch
  • Launch- press conference
  • Data gathering and analysis
  • Consultation on findings of market
  • Dissemination of the report– Press conference
  • Advocacy and lobbying

8) What are the possible outcomes of market inquiries?

The following are the possible outcomes of market inquiries

  • Recommendations to Government;
  • Consumer-focused action;
  • Enforcement investigation;
  • Advocacy and lobbying;
  • Recommendations to businesses; and
  • Clearance for the market.

9) What is the purpose of impact assessment studies?

Impact assessment studies are a useful tool used to assess the impact of past decisions of the Commission.

10) How can stakeholders contribute to the work of the Department?

Different stakeholders are free to submit any information that they believe would be useful to the Commission at any time.