Many industries and sectors in the country have formed cartels in order to obtain an undue economic advantage, mostly at the cost of their consumers, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told the National Assembly on Wednesday.
He was responding to a question put by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Dr Shireen Mazari.
Dr Mazari asked if it was true that cartels existed in various industries and, if so, which industries were they. She also asked whether there was a law to deal with cartelisation.
Although the question couldn’t be taken up for open discussion since the routine business of the National Assembly was suspended to take up the Protection of Pakistan bill, a written response from Senator Dar was provided to lawmakers.
In a detailed answer, the finance minister said that between April 2008 and April 2013, the government had found that a number of sectors of the national economy were operating under the influence of cartels. These included: banking, accountancy, print media, stock exchange, cement, sugar, telecom, jute bags, poultry, power equipment, ghee and shipping.
Answering the second part of the question, Senator Dar explained that cartelisation was a civil offence in Pakistan. “The existence of cartels can only be proved on the basis of evidence after an inquiry is conducted under the Competition Act, 2010,” he added.