KATHMANDU, May 31: In a bid to protect consumers from inflationary pressure and irregular market price of 12 essential commodities, the government has prepared an action plan that includes some 16 short-term and another 16 long-term measures.
A nine-member committee, tasked with the job of preparing a concrete action plan on controlling prices of essential goods and strengthening market regulations listed rice, maize, wheat, salt, sugar, fruits, vegetable, milk, pulses, edible oil and petroleum products as essential commodities.
The action plan envisioned steps to control rising prices. "This is also to ensure reliable supply of essential goods," read the 43-page-long action-plan. The team used statistics available from related agencies and prevailing market price as base to build the action plan and is per the cabinet decision of mid-April.
The government, under the short-term measures, has planned to provide incentives in customs duty in some selected essential goods, establish fair-price shops in all the municipalities and various places of Katmandu and print maximum retail price in packages of all the essential goods.
Similarly, the government also plans to effectively implement existing laws and rules to control price and regulate market. "There will be effective implementation of Consumers Protection Act 1998," the action plan said. "All the wholesale and retail shops must demonstrate a price list of all the essential goods."
In addition, the government will have to publish details of production, import and wholesale price every three months. Also, permanent bodies from centre to local levels would be established to regulate the market. The action plan that was availed to Republica, says "The government will issue ration cards to support poor people to get essential goods at reasonable prices within six months."
Similarly, the action plan has also suggested opening up import and sale of petroleum products to the private sector, doubling the investment in the agricultural sector, raising food production in rural areas, establishing consumer courts in all zones, and incentives to fruits and vegetable transporters among others.
In addition, the report recommends establishing the Supply Board so that there would be an independent and functional body to strengthen supply mechanisms.
"There should be market information centres in the districts as well," the action plan said.