CCP LAUNCHES ONLINE SYSTEMS FOR PROCESSING MERGER APPLICATIONS, COMPLAINT FILINGS, & CONDUCTING HEARINGS
ISLAMABAD: Amid the COVID-19 situation, the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) in order to facilitate the local and foreign investors intending to invest in Pakistan through mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, has launched an Online Merger and Acquisition Application filing system. Pakistan is a compulsory merger regime where the companies/undertakings seeking mergers, acquisitions, or joint ventures and meeting the prescribed threshold stipulated in the merger regulations, have to apply for clearance from the CCP under section 11 of the Competition Act, 2010. The CCP, keeping in view the difficulties faced by the local and foreign investors in filing the merger applications in paper form amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has launched the online application filing system. Through this system, companies can submit the required documents electronically using a predefined format through an online software application provided by the CCP. An undertaking anywhere in Pakistan can now request for Merger and Acquisition NOC and also track the application online through this system, which can be accessed at CCP’s website (www.cc.gov.pk). While the undertakings are being asked to file merger applications online, the CCP cleared 9 mergers during the past week. Since January 2020, the CCP has approved 21 cases of merger, acquisitions, and joint ventures in various sectors of the economy. These include 2 merger cases, 1 joint venture, and 18 acquisitions. Moreover, to clear the backlog of various cases pending at CCP, hearings have been resumed, and keeping the health and safety of the respondents at forefront amid COVID-19, they have been allowed to participate in the hearings using video conferencing and other online tools. This week, the Commission conducted two hearings using video conferencing. For the facilitation of the general public, CCP’s online Complaint Management System is in place to facilitate the consumers and businesses in submission of complaints regarding violations of competition law. Any complaint received at the Commission is fed into the online system and a tracking number is issued to the complainant. The complainants can call at a dedicated telephone line at CCP (051-9100270-72-73) or email at email@example.com regarding their complaints. Furthermore, an online app is also being developed for processing Exemption applications. The CCP is also in the process of translating the online applications along with the regulations, besides Urdu, in various other languages, i.e. Chinese, Turkish, Arabic, and French, with the collaboration of the concerned embassies. The purpose of this exercise is to create awareness and explain the CCP’s procedures to the investors from these countries in their own languages and to facilitate them in filing merger applications and submitting online complaints regarding competition law violations. CCP is committed to support and facilitate all its stakeholders, regardless of their public or private ownership, with the aim of promoting competition. Online facilitation by CCP is a step toward ensuring ease of doing business in the country. Throughout the pandemic and the consequent lockdown in the country, the CCP continues its work to protect consumers, provide guidance to businesses, and protect competition in the marketplace.