KATHMANDU, July 23: The government on Monday enforced the new Joint Market Monitoring Directive 2012 aimed at ensuring better coordination among regulating agencies for effective market inspection to safeguard consumer interests.
Secretary of Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) Lalmani Joshi unveiled the new directive at a program organized jointly with the Department of Commerce (DoC).
The directive was prepared by the National Vigilance Centre (NVC) in order to make market inspection more effective. It was approved by the cabinet on July 5.
“The directive will help make the market monitoring more effective, build coordination among regulating agencies, create uniformity in monitoring, protect the rights of consumers and increase awareness among the public,” said Narayan Prasad Bidari, director general of DoC. He added that the directive was issued amid growing concerns against fraudulent practices of traders and businessmen.
The new directive will replace the earlier system where different departments such as DoC, Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC), Department of Drug Administration, District Administration Office and other local bodies conducted separate market inspections.
Bidari said that the joint monitoring directive will help end monopoly and promote healthy competition in the market.
In order to maintain uniformity, the directive sets the code of conduct officials and consumer rights activists need to follow while conducting market monitoring.
It outlines provisions of appreciating business entities for good work and punishing them if found cheating the consumers. Similarly, it also has the provision of rewarding monitoring officials who carry out their work effectively and take departmental action against those who commit misconduct.
Bidari said that in case of wrongdoing by business entities there is a provision of cash penalty or imprisonment or both depending upon the graveness of the offense.
According to the directive, both goods and services would be monitored. The goods that are mentioned in the directives for inspection include edibles, stationery items, jewelry, electronic products, measuring devices, drugs and pesticides, among others.
Similarly, the directive has also included service sectors such as communication, environment, foreign employment, tourism, and water supply as the areas that require monitoring.