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Govt cracks down on overcharging retailers

Kathmandu, August 25, 2016: Market inspection teams have been taking action against retailers charging prices higher than the maximum retail price (MRP).

The Ministry of Supplies moved to enforce the MRP regulation for 13 essential goods following instructions from Supply Minister Deepak Bohara, the ministry said.

On Tuesday, the government team booked Bir Pharmacy located at B&B Hospital, Gwarko for not exhibiting the MRP for 96 medicinal products sold at the shop. Similarly, on Monday, officials booked Variety Cold Store at Nakkhu and DK Cold Store at Prayag Pokhari in Lalitpur under a similar charge.

The government had planned to enforce the MRP regulation for essential goods two years ago, but nothing was done.

Ananda Ram Regmi, spokesperson for the ministry, said they were concentrating on 13 essential products during the market inspection.

“We have planned to regulate prices of essentials including food items, construction materials, medicinal products, bottled water and petroleum products among others,” he said.

A total of 29 products have been identified as essential goods by the Supply Policy. Regmi said they had considered 13 products for inspection following Minister Bohara’s orders.

Hari Narayan Belbase, director at the Commerce Ministry, said they had sent the file related to the implementation of the MRP to the then Ministry of Commerce and Supply Management last September. “We have not heard from the ministry since then,” he said.

However, Regmi said they had received no such file from the Commerce Ministry. The government was supposed to enforce the MRP in coordination with the Supply and Commerce ministries and the Department of Customs.

Earlier, the government had planned to enforce the MRP for a number of imported goods from September 28, 2015.

The government was supposed to fix the MRP for 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 government had first moved to set the MRP for imported goods some four years ago. In September 2012, the then Ministry of Commerce and Supplies had published a notice in the Nepal Gazette making price tags mandatory for daily essentials, but the rule is yet to be fully implemented.

By Rajesh Khanal