The packed audience at the FTC’s 8th Annual Lecture, held last Friday night. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has "an extremely wide and challenging mandate, one that in most countries is not usually accorded to a single organisation".

This was pointed out by Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, as he recently lauded the work of that agency.

Speaking at the Commission’s 8th Annual Lecture, held at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa, Senator Benn noted that the FTC was not simply satisfied with excellence, but was always focused on making strides in service.

"In outlining your plans for the second decade you identified a number of priorities.?? You identified the need to upgrade your statutory framework by looking at the gaps in the present coverage and assessing its relevance for modern commerce, and you emphasised the importance of engaging the public in setting realistic expectations.?? You also underscored the need for preserving and building human capital by anticipating changes in turnover and investing in your resources.

??"I want to encourage you to stay committed to these priorities," the Minister said, noting that regulatory bodies have an important role to play in facilitating an economic environment based on performance, fairness and order..??

In his remarks, Chairman of the FTC, Sir Neville Nicholls,??noted that the organisation administered three different pieces of legislation – namely the Utilities Regulation Act, the Consumer Protection Act and the Fair Competition Act – and often operated as adjudicator, guardian, investigator and educator.??

Speaking about some of its projects, Sir Neville revealed that the FTC was currently reviewing the existing Cable and Wireless (Barbados) Limited’s Price Cap Plan 2008 (PCP2008), which was implemented in 2008 and would conclude on the 31st of [March].?? "On February 10, the Commission issued a consultation paper on the review of this mechanism.?? This is an important part of the process of developing and implementing a new plan for the next price cap period," he said.

The Chairman also stated that the organisation was seeking public response to a number of questions posed in the consultation paper on issues such as the proposed number of baskets and the price cap formula.?? Issues related to the utilities sector were also on the cards, Sir Neville revealed, with the "review of the method of application of the fuel clause adjustment…

"Some of the issues that will be examined include whether a change in the current approach to the recovery of fuel cost is warranted and ways to incentivise the company to ensure the optimal use of fuel…Consultants will look at efficiency factors and assess whether revenue obtained from the current fuel clause adjustment methodology is equal to the actual fuel costs incurred by the BL&P," he added.

Sir Neville gave the assurance that the entity "remains committed to ensuring that we contribute to the development of Barbados and that our regulatory efforts are fair, balanced and transparent.?? We feel a great responsibility to have these outreach events on matters of public interest," he declared.????


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