A seminar on "Supporting competition in economy-in-transition and developing countries" was held on 29 May in Moscow, State Committee of Uzbekistan for Demonopolisation, Support of Competition and Entrepreneurship said.
The seminar was organised by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada) as a part of events held in the framework of the Sixth Annual International Competition Network Conference.
Susan Jokes of the International Development Research Centre, Paul Moffat of the EBRD, Eric Livniy of the Consortium of Economic Education and Research and Andrei Kashevarov of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service made opening speeches.
The leading specialists of the competition agencies of different departments and organizations spoke at the seminar. Competition agency of Uzbekistan was represented by the Director of the Centre for Improvement of Anti-Monopoly Policy under the State Demonopolisation Committee G. Holjigitov. He made a speech on the results of the research project on the "Issues of competition in the market of international money transfers", implemented with the support of the International Development Research Centre.
"As money transfers play not only an important economic but also a social role for the receiving party, the presence of a competitive environment in this market is gaining special importance both for the country and the consumers," he said.
Speaking of the market for money transfers, he noted that their level has reached over US$230 billion, which according to certain sources, exceeds the size of the official aid to developing countries.
In Uzbekistan, money transfers exceeded US$1 billion in 2006. The number of operators has grown from three in 2002 to 11 in 2006. At the same time the average level of tariffs has dropped nearly twice, which according to different estimations allowed consumers to save approximately US$50-60million.
Moreover the reduction of tariffs and improvement in the quality and speed of money transfer services has had a positive affect on the use of official money transfer channels. Thus, in 2005 the volume of money transfers grew by 45% against 2004.
Speaking of the affect of foreign enterprises on the competitive environment in this segment of the financial services market, he noted on that overall foreign enterprises have a positive affect on the local market, for the following reasons:
- they usually open the market (are first participants), create new types of services and establish high standards, to which new market participants adhere;
- they bring and integrate new technology and methods which improves the competitive environment in general;
- they help to preserve the competitive forces in the market, thereby improving the welfare of the consumers through the provision of higher quality services at lower prices.
Conference participants said they appreciated the unique opportunity to listen to and learn from the important reports and presentations delivered, and expressed their willingness to continue to share experience and knowledge to develop competition in transition countries.