Professional bodies are becoming focal points of anti-trust and anti-competition avenues where one society, after another, gazette the minimum payable fees to their membership.
Unknown to them, professionalism has little to do with the minimum amount of pay. It is a calling. Professionalism cannot be monetarized. Instead, a good professional will offer choices and options to a client.
Fixing minimum pricing does not necessarily stop quacks. On the contrary, it promotes infiltration of more cartels.
Lawyers have the Advocates Remuneration Order. It hasn’t always worked.
The competition watchdog has warned professional bodies against colluding to set prices following attempts by engineers and accountants to prescribe client fees.
Incidentally, the professional bodies of engineers and accountants is yet to delist any of their own for either collapsed buildings and or cooked up books of accounts, respectively.
Accountants and engineers are pushing to set up minimum fees charged by professionals in what they claim is meant to curb price under-cutting and boost professionalism.
Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), has rightfully, said the moves amount to price-fixing and will kill competition and make services expensive.
Article 227 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides that the government should procure goods and services through a system which is, among others, cost-effective.
Floor pricing, according to CAK, defeats this constitutional requirement.
Cofek urges CAK to in turn seek support of the National Treasury to bar professional societies from violating the law as well as avert a situation in which Kenya could become too expensive on skilled labour.