Call to curb price hike

Kathmandu, March 2:

Experts today called for creating an effective plan to control rising prices, saying lack of price management in the market was a major factor in the uneven rise in prices of consumer goods.

“The government lacks a policy for market survey of unfair pricing system in the market,” said Pabitra Bajracharya, president of Nepal Retailers’ Association in a programme on ‘Price Hike and Effect on Market’.

Raw mustard oil, which has a wholesale price of Rs 108 per litre, is being sold at Rs 115 per litre in retail. Similarly, soyabean with a wholesale price of Rs 93 per litre sells for Rs 100 per litre while sunflower oil cost Rs 120 per litre though it has a wholesale price of Rs 115 per litre, said Bajracharya.

According to him, there are a few manufacturers and producers who are dominating the local market through their cartels.

“Compared to other countries, the price of consumer goods in Nepal has increased three-fold,” said Gopal Dahal, representative of Consumer Rights Conservation Forum, Nepal.

“ Development works are in limbo and this could be one of the causes of the price hike,” said Bholanath Pokhrel of the forum.

He added that over the last five months, the price of rice had increased by 36 per cent, sugar by 24 per cent and edible oil by 30 per cent. On the other hand, people’s purchasing capacity has not increased accordingly.

Talking about the causes of the increase in prices, Pokhrel said load-shedding had increased the processing cost while protest programmes and strikes had blocked movement of goods.

Pokhrel added that the new tax policy could be another cause of the galloping prices. “Trust is lacking between businessmen and the government,” he said.

Consumer Rights Conservation Forum-Nepal, Consumer Law Committee, Nepal Bar Association and South Asian Watch on Trade, Economic and Environment (SAWATEE) jointly organized the programme.