Prof. Stiglitz appointed to Walmart study panel

Pretoria – Nobel laureate and economist, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, has been appointed as the government’s expert to serve on the Walmart study.

This follows the judgement by the Competition Appeal Court in March that a study be commissioned to “determine the most appropriate means together with the mechanism by which local South African suppliers may be empowered to respond to the challenges posed by the merger” between Walmart and Massmart.

The study will be conducted by three experts, each one representing government, the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) and Walmart. The costs of this study will be borne by Walmart.

According to a statement issued by the Ministers of Economic Development, Trade and Industry and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, government notified the Competition Appeal Court on Tuesday that it had appointed Stiglitz as its representative to the expert panel.

Professor Stiglitz has served as Chief Economist for the World Bank and as advisor to President Bill Clinton.

“Professor Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate, is recognised internationally as a leading economist, who has vast experience in dealing with the effects of globalisation. His work has shown the value of smart government action to promote social equity, growth and economic development.

“The ministers believe that Professor Stiglitz will add depth and global know-how to the work of the panel and can assist the parties to identify an appropriate and constructive remedy to the potential negative public interest effects identified by the Competition Appeal Court arising from the merger,” said the joint statement.

The three departments have been party to proceedings involving the Walmart-Massmart merger at the Competition Appeal Court, involving both a review of a decision of the Competition Tribunal, as well as an appeal against the decision.

Each of the departments has incurred costs of approximately R1.4 million for the review and appeal at the Competition Appeal Court to date.

Their involvement arose from the potential impact that the merger may have on small farmers, local manufacturers and agro-processing sectors in the economy.

The costs related to government’s participation in the review and appeal proceedings before the Competition Appeal Court should be viewed in the context of the significant outcomes, which have been achieved for the public in this matter, said the statement. – BuaNews