Kathmandu Metropolitan City has issued its 'Market Management and Monitoring Act- 2021', which requires manufacturers, transporters, and distributors of goods and services to register their company or firm with the metropolis.

"No firm, company or industry shall be allowed to carry out business transactions without registration. Similarly, it will also be mandatory for them to renew their business by the end of the month of Ashwin every year," says the act published in the Local Gazette on February 19.

The act also stipulates provisions for conditions of cancellation of business registration.

If the business, including grocery, is not renewed for four years in a row, acts in contravention of the prevailing laws, engages in unethical trade practices and fails to dispose of waste it generates, the registration shall be cancelled.

"However, the concerned business shall be given opportunity to defend itself before cancellation of registration," the act reads.

The act also requires the industry, firm, company, and shop to meet quality standards prescribed by the prevailing laws. It strictly prohibits the sale of goods or services by deception, publishing or broadcasting misleading advertisement, hoarding and black-marketing, overcharging, creating artificial shortage of goods, sale of fake and adulterated goods, refusal to issue bill or invoice and sale of expired goods, among others.

The act empowers KMC to make necessary arrangements for supply of goods and services on its own or in partnership with other organisations. It prohibits the operation of business in places other than those mentioned in the registration certificate.

"No one shall operate any activity that causes loss or damage to cleanliness and sanitation of the metropolis while carrying out business.

The business operator concerned shall be responsible for managing the waste it produces," the act says. The metropolis has also been empowered to determine the maximum retail price of consumer goods inside its jurisdiction. "Shopkeepers shall display the price list and registration certificate in a place conspicuous to clients," it reads.

As per the act, there shall be an eight-member market management and consumer rights protection committee led by deputy chief of KMC to make the market fair, competitive and consumer-friendly inside the metropolis. The committee will also operate a hotline to receive complaints from consumers and initiate legal action against the guilty.

The act also has provision of a market monitoring team to ensure that the firms, companies and businesses duly abide by the law. Anyone, who violates the provisions contained in this act, shall be liable to a fine up to Rs 200,000, in addition to cancellation of registration.

As per the act, if anyone provides authentic information leading to successful investigation into the offence committed by businesses, he/she shall be rewarded 25 per cent of the principal amount recovered from the guilty.

There shall be a consumer interest fund as well. A total of 50 per cent of amount recovered from the guilty shall be deposited in that fund to spend on promotion of rights and interests of consumers.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 24, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.