Consumer Protection Act draft lamented

Kathmandu, November 28:

Government has prepared a draft of Consumer Protection Act 2064 to ensure consumers’ rights, smooth supply of goods and services as well as regulate market prices.

However, the experts and consumer rights activists said that the new legislation has made no breakthrough in terms of protecting consumers’ interests and ensuring smooth supply of goods and services. They also said that the proposed draft has most of the provisions and clauses similar to existing Consumer Protection Act 2054.

Speaking at an interaction organised by Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) here today, they asked the government for a thorough overhauling of the draft Act to make it consumer- and business-friendly. They also asked the government to make sure that the provisions stated in the law would be implemented seriously.

Rajendra Bahadur Shrestha of Economic Policy Network making a presentation on the proposed the Act said that the draft has made no major changes and it has kept almost all provisions of the existing Act same.

The draft formulated recently by the Department of Commerce proposes to establish Consumer Protection Commission replacing the existing Consumer Protection Council. It has also increased the penalties and clearly stated syndicate system an illegal activity. It has also envisioned a separate consumer court to deal issues related to consumer rights, cheatings, fraudulent and so on. However, most of the provisions are similar to the exiting Act.

Shrestha said that the new law should take a proactive approach to promote fair trade practices. “The failure of consumer related laws is due to lack of consumer education, active regulation and consumer court.”

Surendra Bir Malakar, president of NCC noted that consumers are increasingly facing problems due to constraint in supply side, as the market lacks competition and choices. Presenting an example of short supply of petro products, he lamented government for its inefficiency in ensuring smooth supply. “Petroleum import should be privatised, if government authority cannot supply.”