Print Edition - 2014-06-03 | MONEY
Sellers to be fined on the spot for failing quality standards
Jun 2, 2014-
The Department of Commerce and Supply Management is planning to fine shopkeepers on the spot if the quality of their products is found to be below standard.
The department decided to ramp up its monitoring system after the current method was found to be ineffective in convincing store owners to maintain quality standards.
“Most of the sellers who have been told by department officials to implement corrective measures fail to do so,” said Purushottam Subedi, director at the department. He blamed the ineffective monitoring on the lack of a provision for imposing instant fines on offenders.
The Commerce Department has proposed to impose fines ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 3,000 on shopkeepers who fail to comply with its rules.
According to Subedi, they have planned to address the issue by amending the Consumers Right Protection Act, 1998. “We have already sent a draft to the ministry,” he said.
Currently, the department has been checking 10-21 outlets in the Kathmandu valley.
According to the department, a large number of cases are related to lack of proper product labels and price lists, failure to remove date expired inventory from the shelves and absence of proper hygiene and safety measures.
The Commerce Department has set a target of checking 2,000-2,300 stores annually from its head office and five regional offices located in Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi, Birgunj, Biratnagar and Bhairahawa.
Meanwhile, the department has started collecting information on wholesalers and importers in order to make its market monitoring more effective. “Since most of the time only retailers have been penalised while the main players have been left out, we have aimed to go after them too.”
According to Subedi, they have not been able to investigate wholesalers mainly because they don’t know where they are.
“So we have been collecting information about them from government agencies including the Department of Industry.”
The department is also planning to endorse a working guideline on follow-up inspections of the outlets. Currently, it carries out repeat inspections only in some special cases. Frequent revisits by officials are expected to make sellers obey the rules set by the department.
Published: 03-06-2014 09:02