Plan takes back seat amid embargo

  • setting maximum retail prices of imported goods
- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu

Mar 7, 2016-

The plan to set maximum retail prices (MRPs) of imported goods has taken a back seat as the government’s focus shifted to managing shortages after India imposed a trade embargo on Nepal five months ago.

The government had planned to enforce MRPs on a number of imported goods, effective from September 28. 

The products include readymade garments, cotton, thread, footwear, and food products like rice, maize, wheat, buckwheat, pulses and edible oils. Other products are packaged food, bread, chewing gum, ghee, dairy products and meat items, construction materials, kitchen utensils, surgical and lab related products, homeopathic medicines, electrical appliances, electronic products, stationery, sports goods, cosmetics, toys and ceramic and plastic products.

The provision is currently imposed on 12 imported goods, including televisions, washing machines, microwave ovens, energy drinks, marble, granite, tiles, cooking range, chimney, digital camera, video camera and automobile.

Hari Narayan Belbase, director at the Department of Commerce, said the plan has made no headway since the embargo was imposed.

The provision is aimed at controlling market anomalies such as overcharging consumers and rampant under-invoicing imported goods. 

There is growing trend of traders stating low prices at customs offices to doge taxes and selling them at higher prices in the market.

The government first moved to set MRPs of imported goods some four years ago. On September 17, 2012, the then Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) had published a notice in the Nepal Gazette making price tags mandatory on daily essentials, but the rule is yet to be fully implemented.

Gokul Prasad Dhital, director general at the Department of Supply Management and Protection of Consumers’ Interests, admitted they have failed to “follow up on the issue”. “After the government separated the commerce and supply departments, we are now busy in hiring officials,” he said.

Published: 07-03-2016 09:04

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