‘No concrete programme to address market anomalies’

  • consumer rights
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 15, 2015-

Consumer rights activists have criticised the government budget 2015-16 for failing to introduce effective programmes to address growing market anomalies such as black-marketing, carteling and syndicate on essentials.

“Even though past budgets have committed to control syndicate and carteling, this budget has neglected protecting consumer rights,” said Madhav Timilsina, president of Consumers’ Right Investigation Forum. “The government should have introduced measures to lead the market into a healthy competition,” he said.

Consumers are cheated frequently in food items, petroleum products and services. They also face a shortage of essential goods, including petroleum products and cooking gas, largely due to syndicate and carteling.

Records at the Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM) also show that malpractices have grown in the aftermath of the April 25 earthquake. In the last two and a half months, the department has taken action against 30 traders for black marketing and some others under Social Offenses and Punishment Act 1975.

According to President of Consumers’ Right Protection Forum Jyoti Baniya, there was no programme introduced in the budget to control escalating market prices.

“At a time when consumers are heavily suffering from ever increasing prices, even for relief materials, the government has only tried to please the private sector by fulfilling their demands,” he said.

The budget has nonetheless mentioned a few measures to control prices of essentials such as pulses and edible oil. It has provided subsidies in customs duty for importing pulses, and has introduced similar packages for importing raw materials of edible oils.

Prem Lal Maharjan, president of National Consumer Forum, considered the measures to be insufficient. Maharjan said the budget was expected to come up with a strategic work plan to regulate the supply of essentials along with controlling their price hike. He sought the need for an effective government intervention by strengthening public enterprises.

The DoCSM, on the other hand, said that there were no obstacle in regulating the market even if the budget brings in no new programme to relieve consumers. Shambhu , director general of the department, said existing laws provide enough room to regulate the market.

“However, poor implementation has resulted in growing market anomalies,” said Koirala, adding that the government is now determined to implement the laws effectively.

Published: 16-07-2015 08:06

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