In 1986, Tanzania decided to adopt the market economy and hence introduced economic liberalization policy. In implementing this policy, the government had to repeal the laws that were not consistent with the new economic set up to allow market liberalization.
The Government also reviewed and introduced new sector policies and laws in the sectors which operated under monopoly. This decision also necessitated the lifting up of some trade restrictions, seeking maximum involvement of private sector investment, restructuring public institutions to commercial orientation, privatization of some parastatal organizations, and introduction of competition in the network services.
Subsequently in early 1990s, the Government implemented a series of regulatory reforms. The main reason, among other things, was to ensure maximum achievement of the objectives for pursuing market economy. The Government also wanted to achieve a level playing field for investors, efficient utilization of the available resources, consumer protection from unfair and misleading market conduct, fair and competitive markets, sustainable investment in the economy and credible competition and regulatory framework.
Following the economic and regulatory reforms implemented in 1986 to early 1990s, the Fair Trade Practices Act, 1994 was passed by the Parliament. The purpose of this Act was to encourage competition in the economy by prohibiting restrictive trade practices, regulating monopolies, concentrations of economic power and practices, protecting the consumer and to provide for other related matters. The Act prescribed establishment of a Tribunal that would hear and determine appeal cases on unfair trade practices and related matters. However, the Fair Trade Practices Act, 1994 had many shortcomings in respect of institutional arrangement and allocation of roles and functions. Therefore, in 2003 it was repealed and replaced by the Fair Competition, Act No. 8 of 2003 which became effective on 12th May 2004.
The new Act, among other things, provides for the establishment of the Fair Competition Commission (FCC), the Fair Competition Tribunal (FCT) and National Consumers Advocacy Council (NCAC).
The Fair Competition Tribunal is established under section 83 (1) of the Act, specifically, to create effective appeal mechanisms on competition and regulatory matters. The Tribunal adjudicates on appeals that arise from decisions and orders of the Fair Competition Commission, utilities and network regulatory authorities namely the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), and the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA).
The Tribunal became fully operational in 2005 after the appointment of the Chairman, Members and the Registrar. The first Chairman, Hon. Laurean B. Kalegeya, J. (as he then was) and the first Members of the Tribunal were appointed on 8th November 2004 and 4th October, 2005 respectively. The second Chairman, Hon. Raziabegum H. Sheikh, J. and the current Members of the Tribunal were appointed on 27th April, 2008 and 8th December, 2009 respectively.
The first Registrar Hon. Amir R. Mruma (now Judge of the High Court) was appointed in 19th May, 2005 and the current one, Hon. Edson J. Mkasimongwa on 14th May, 2007. Recruitment of staff started in November, 2006 and was completed in November, 2007. Presently the Tribunal has 16 members of staff.
In discharging its functions, the Tribunal acts informally and expeditiously as circumstances and considerations of fairness permit.