MRP regulation not being implemented

- RAJESH KHANAL, Kathmandu

Nov 25, 2014-

The rule requiring manufacturers to show the maximum retail price (MRP) on essential goods has not been enforced even two years after it was introduced. 

On September 17, 2012, the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) published a notice in the Nepal Gazette making price tags mandatory for daily necessities, but the rule has not been implemented.  

The Nepal Gazette stated that the government would fix the MRP of essential goods like rice, pulses and wheat flour, among others. “Based on the change in prices every 15 days, the concerned authorities will fix the MRP by publishing them in the daily newspapers,” said the gazette. The provision was enforced as per the Essential Commodities Control (Authorisation) Act, 1961.  

Lalmani Joshi, former secretary of the MoCS, said they enforced the provision with the aim of providing relief to the general public from soaring prices and severe price fluctuations. “Frequent price changes and wide difference in prices of edibles in retail stores prompted the government to bring out this rule,” he said.  

The government had aimed to prevent artificial price hikes and establish a baseline for market monitoring by fixing the MRP of essential commodities. The MRP includes all taxes.  

Although the Department of Commerce and Supplies Management has been publishing reference prices of daily commodities, the actual prices in the retail market are very different from them.

Joshi said that the ministry had targeted implementing the MRP for 32-33 items including food products, milk, education fees, cement and iron rods. According to him, the MRP was supposed to be monitored according to the Joint Market Monitoring Directive 2012. 

Joshi blamed the political situation and the interest of a few businessmen for the possible failure of the effective implementation of the MRP. 

According to officials of the Department of Commerce and Supplies Management, they had planned to fix the MRP in coordination with the main suppliers of the essential products when the notice was published in the Gazette. 

The MRP was supposed to include the transportation cost, overhead charges, production costs and their mark-up. 

A senior official at the department said that consumers would be protected from being cheated if the MRP was strictly implemented. “Intervention by the private sector along with political causes could be the reasons behind the failure to implement the MRP,” he added. 

Published: 26-11-2014 13:10

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