Parliament to endorse bill by September 18The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav said on Thursday that the Consumer Protection Bill 2018, which has stipulated prompt action against corrupt traders, will be endorsed by the Parliament by September 18.
The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav said on Thursday that the Consumer Protection Bill 2018, which has stipulated prompt action against corrupt traders, will be endorsed by the Parliament by September 18.
He said that the new consumer law has provisioned stern action against unscrupulous traders. The decision to implement the law comes despite some powerful traders pressing the government to amend it in their favour.
The government had tabled the bill in Parliament a month ago. The draft of the bill was then discussed at different parliamentary committee meetings and was sent back to the Parliament for review. During this time, a number of traders made an attempt to change some clauses and turn them in their favour, said a government official.
The bill has also sought to constitute the consumer court to promptly deal with rampant anomalies in the market. Currently, consumer disputes and grievances are filed at the district court. Besides that, the new law has also provisioned an on-the-spot cash penalty of up to Rs300,000, and a jail term of up to three years against traders who sell substandard products.
Traders were lobbying to remove this clause, according to government officials.
Minister Yadav, however, said that the government would not scrap the jail-term clause against scrupulous traders while responding to entrepreneurs’ request to revisit the amendment bill on Thursday.
Traders are dissatisfied with the government’s intervention on many issues, such as fixing the maximum retail prices, defining the commercial level of transacted goods, labelling of traded goods, maintaining the price lists at all shops, defining the standard of the goods and monitoring procedures, among others. Traders said they were also unhappy with other provisions, such as consumers returning sold-out goods within 15 days. “Sold-out goods such as mobile phones and automobiles among others cannot be returned as these goods are backed by warranty,” said Anjan Shrestha, past president of Nepal Automobile Dealers Association.
Former Commerce Secretary Purushottam Ojha said the new consumer act should ensure consumers’ safety, right to information, right to choose and right to lodge complaints. “The existing law lacks a proper implementation mechanism. The new law, however, should be effectively implemented.”
Chandra Kumar Ghimire, secretary of the ministry, said the new act will safeguard people’s fundamental right to choose goods that ensure their safety. He, however, said that a number of unclear provisions in the act could be revisited.