Three-tier market policy soon

KATHMANDU: The first consultation on the new market policy took place at the Ministry of Supplies today. The ministry’s Department of Commerce (DoC) is planning to introduce a three-tier market policy. It is based on ‘the role of a welfare state’, said DoC acting director Kailash Bajimaya.

DoC has taken the concept in essential goods, he said. Black Marketing and Certain Other Social Offences Act 1978 Section 3 (C) has put 29 items — 15 food grains, six construction materials and eight other items — in the essential commodities list.

However, the new market policy has mainly focused on rice, flour, pulse, maize and edible oil. “These are basic consumer goods and highly

manipulated by black

marketeers,” Bajimaya said. The government has market control in salt and sugar through state owned companies — Salt Trading Corporation and National Trading Ltd.

The three-layer policy includes emergency, mid-term and long-term measures to regulate market and support the poor. “Market intervention and rapid inspection are emergency measures to be taken whenever needed,” said Bajimaya. This strategy will be

used in extreme situations like now for a maximum 100-day period, he added.

DoC has suggested strengthening Salt Trading Corporation, National Trading Ltd and Nepal Food Corporation under mid-term strategy. “We have advised the Ministry of Supplies (MoC) to store at least 10-15 per cent of food grains in its stock,”

an officer working on policy said. The stock will be used

to flow it in the market

when there is artificial price hike or food shortage. Long-term plan is fully centred on welfare of the poor. DoC has proposed to provide subsidised food grains to people living below the poverty line through ration cards. “It is a crude concept paper, we will discuss with the concerned authorities and improve it,” Bajimaya said.

DoC has also proposed a new department — Consumer and Supply Department — to regulate the market and protect consumer rights.

“If we want change, Consumer and Supply Department is mandatory,” he said. The proposal has 47 staffers for the new department.

CRPF free legal aid for DoC

KATHMANDU: Consumer Rights Protection Forum (CRPF) will provide legal assistance to the Department of Commerce (DoC) to control the price hike and on other consumer issues. CRPF took this decision after DoC failed to manage legal experts on its own. “Our 14 lawyers will provide free legal assistance whenever DoC needs it,” said CRPF’s Jyoti Baniya. CRPF has nominated 10 lawyers for

Kathmandu and two each for Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. Doc acting director Kailash Bajimaya welcomed the support and said, “We are not legal experts, we will take your support at every step.” — HNS