The Department of Commerce and Supply Management (DoCSM) plans to ask manufacturers and importers of packaged daily essential goods to put them on the market only after stating the maximum retail price (MRP).
The department is all set to issue a notice in this regard in a couple of days. The move is aimed at discouraging the traders from overcharge customers, which is rife after the April 25 earthquake.
The department will give a three-month deadline to the traders and manufacturers to comply with the directive.
After the directive comes into effect, the traders will not be allowed to import the goods without the MRP printed on the packaging, while local producers should mandatorily state the MRP on their products.
DoCSM Director General Shambhu Koirala said the department a week ago endorsed the decision. “The move is expected to control the trend of sellers overcharging customers,” he said.
He said the department will intensify market inspection to make sure the stated MRPs are consistent with the actual production costs, overhead costs and profit margin. “The provision, however, is not applicable to perishable goods such as vegetables and fruits, the prices of which vary on a daily basis and are distributed in lots,” said Koirala.
The directive also covers life saving drugs and surgical devices. According to the department, many of these products, especially the surgical devices imported from India, Malaysia, the US and European countries, do not state MRPs.
In the absence of a strict MRP provision, traders are taking undue benefits on different pretexts such as recent earthquake.
In the last two months after the quake, the DoCSM took action against seven medicine sellers under the Black-marketing and Some Other Social Offenses Punishment Act 1975.
Although the Consumers’ Protection Act 1998 has made a provision that all the goods sold in the market should state MRPs, the provision is not implemented strictly.
The DoCSM said it would take stern action against those not abiding by the provision.
“The department will confiscate the goods without the MRPs on them and bring such traders to book,” it said.
The department has asked the people to file complaints at free number 16600133044 if the essentials are found being sold without MRPs.