New guidelines for market monitoring

Published On: December 1, 2019 12:25 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 1: The Department of Commerce and Supply Management is preparing to enforce a code of conduct for market inspectors amid growing complaints that market inspection teams are guided by vested interests.

Most of the time, the government teams adopt ad hoc measures to carry out market monitoring. In addition, officials involved in the inspection team are often blamed for taking bribe or fulfilling personal interests in the name of market monitoring.

Few months ago, the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority had grilled an official of the department for taking bribe to let go the unscrupulous trader. Similarly, consumer right activists, who join market inspection team, were also found defrauding traders in a number of cases.

According to the department, the new code of conduct will set standards while carrying out market monitoring activities. Netra Prasad Subedi, director general of the department, told Republica that they were enforcing the code of conduct to make the inspection team members follow certain norms while visiting the market for monitoring. “The code of conduct will also maintain the standards for formation of monitoring teams by including media persons and consumer right activists in the teams," said Subedi.

Likewise, the department has said that it was also drafting a separate guideline to streamline the supply chain of essential goods. Realizing that a large number of layers in supply chain was one of the reasons behind exorbitant rise in market price, the department has stepped up to set standard for the market channel, according to Subedi.

In many cases, price of many products, especially agri products, go up due to presence of many market players including middlemen. These middlemen are exploiting both the farmers and general consumers. On one hand, producers get low price for their products, and on the other consumers are compelled to pay high price while middlemen pocket a lion's share of the profit. 

“The new standards will define the number of layers in market transactions and the maximum profit margin that they can take,” said Subedi. 

According to him, the department will finalize drafts of both the standards to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies for final approval.

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