Multi-stakeholder panel to be set up to steady pricesThe Department of Supply Management (DoSM) will soon start laying the groundwork to form a multi-stakeholder committee to stabilise prices of 29 commodities that have been identified as ‘essential’ by the government.
The Department of Supply Management (DoSM) will soon start laying the groundwork to form a multi-stakeholder committee to stabilise prices of 29 commodities that have been identified as ‘essential’ by the government.
Representatives of the Supplies Ministry, DoSM, consumer rights groups, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Nepalese Industries, Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Nepal Trans-Himalayan Trade Association agreed to set up the body at a meeting held at the DoSM on Thursday.
The multi-stakeholder committee will include representatives of the DoSM, Supplies and Finance ministries, consumer rights groups and various umbrella organisations engaged in trading of goods.
The DoSM decided to form the committee following rising complaints from consumers about rampant price hikes of essential commodities.
“The committee’s mandate will be to fix standard prices of 29 essential commodities after assessing import prices, transport and other related costs and rentals,” said DoSM Director General Gokul Prasad Dhital. Major food items, construction materials, medicines, bottled water and petroleum products figure in the list of essential commodities.
Dhital said the committee would also revise the list of essential goods and fix their maximum retail prices.
Although the Supply Policy has allowed the government to fix the maximum retail price of 29 essential commodities, the provision has not been implemented effectively, leaving the field wide open for traders to set arbitrary prices.
The multi-stakeholders meeting also agreed to deal with the issue of date-expired products still being sold in the market. According to the DoSM, traders have agreed to voluntarily declare their stocks of date-expired products and recall them from the market in the next one month.
Traders pledged to withdraw old products as retailers had been selling them beyond their expiration dates. Such products are removed from store shelves and destroyed only if they are discovered by government market inspection teams.
Thursday’s meeting also agreed in principle to develop a new market monitoring method. “Since traders have expressed disagreement over the current practices of market monitoring, we have asked them to come up with their own modality that is compatible with the laws related to consumer rights,” said Dhital. They have agreed to prepare a new method and submit it after the Dashain festival, he added.