Strengthen market monitoring

Published On: June 17, 2023 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

The recent surge in prices of essential vegetables, such as onions and potatoes, prior to the implementation of the proposed Value Added Tax (VAT), raises serious concerns about the plight of consumers and the need for stronger market monitoring. It is disheartening to witness unscrupulous businesspersons taking advantage of the impending VAT implementation by unjustly raising prices and burdening the already strained household budgets of citizens. Since the announcement of the imposition of VAT on vegetables, fruits, and select meat products in the budget for the fiscal year 2080/81, consumers have experienced a sharp increase in kitchen expenses. Finance Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat's decision, while aimed at protecting domestic products, seems to have inadvertently caused the prices of vegetables and fruits to soar in the market.

In just two weeks following the budget speech, vegetable and fruit prices have surged by a staggering 40 percent. The price of potatoes, onions, carrots and other green vegetables has risen by more than 30 percent. Not only vegetables, but fruits have also been affected, with pomegranates, seasonal fruits, and avocados witnessing notable price increases. Such abrupt price hikes have left consumers struggling to manage their household expenses. It is evident that the imposition of VAT has directly influenced the rise in prices, leaving consumers feeling the pinch of the government's tax policy. The demands for the removal of the VAT by consumer rights groups reflect the discontent among those directly impacted by these price increases. They rightly point out that the government's tax policy unfairly burdens consumers and undermines their rights. This highlights the need for the government to focus on controlling price increases rather than burdening consumers with additional taxes.

While it is understandable that the government aims to promote domestic production and discourage imports by imposing VAT on agricultural products, it is imperative to consider the impact on consumers, especially in the case of vegetables that are less produced within the country. It is crucial for the government to prioritize the welfare of consumers by strengthening market monitoring mechanisms. The authorities must take swift action to prevent unscrupulous businesspersons from exploiting the impending VAT implementation to unfairly inflate prices. Additionally, comprehensive measures should be implemented to monitor and regulate price fluctuations, ensuring that consumers are protected from disproportionate and unjust price increases. The recent surge in consumer inflation further highlights the urgency of the situation. With the annual point consumer inflation at 7.76 percent, it is evident that the burden on consumers is increasing. Therefore, the government must reconsider its tax policies and develop a more balanced approach that considers the welfare of consumers while promoting domestic production.

If it is in the best interest of the government to address the concerns of consumers and take immediate steps to alleviate the burden on their household budgets. By strengthening market monitoring, implementing effective price regulation mechanisms, and reviewing tax policies, the government can ensure that consumers are protected from unjust price increases. It is crucial to strike a balance between promoting domestic products and safeguarding the rights and financial well-being of consumers. 

The government's commitment to addressing this issue will be a testament to its dedication to the welfare of its citizens. Consumers across the nation hope for swift action and the implementation of measures that alleviate their financial burden and ensure a fair and transparent marketplace. Only through strong market monitoring and fair regulations can we build a consumer-friendly environment that fosters trust, protects rights, and ensures a more prosperous future for all.

Leave A Comment