Friday, July 31, 2009

Market players screwing up prices in the Nepalese market

At a time when price level in the Indian economy is in downslide, the opposite is going on in Nepal. This is pretty uncommon because the Nepalese market follows price trend of the Indian economy. Unfortunately, price level  in the Nepalese market is over 13 percent right now. Something fishy is going on in Nepalese food and commodity market. Who is to blame? Well, the speculators and retailers who are holding back inventories, thus creating an artificial rise in price level! The government is clamping down on these by directly intervening in the supply side of the market. Some times the market forces is detrimental if left to operate wildly and unchecked! So, the government has to tighten loose screws so that it operates as it should!

Studies by the government and other entities show that price rise is caused primarily by hoarding and black-marketeering (30%), stockists and wholesalers (20%), bandhs and strikes (10%) and the Indian market (40%).

District Administration Office raided 13 godowns of three businessmen on Saturday under Black Marketeering and Certain Other Social Offences Act, 1978. Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce got active in implementation of the price-list (wholesale and retail) in retail shops of Kathmandu.

According to Kailash Kumar Bajimaya, acting director general at DoC, “hoarding is storage of large quantity of food commodities and failure to send them back to the consumer market to make profit, creating artificial scarcity of the items.” Warehousing of the food commoditiesby agents, dealers and retailers exceeding one month without any transaction is punishable by existing law. Bajimaya said the raid conducted by the DAO was targetted at the black marketeers and DoC’s price-list campaign is to educate the consumers. He said market intervention would continue until the consumers got respite from the unethical trade practices.

The commodities market has around 25 players — at least 20 business organisations and traders, including KL Dugar, Pawan Bansal, Chandreshwor Prasad Kalwar, Pawan Kumar Agrawal and Murarka Group.

“We have asked their import/purchase papers, customs papers, VAT papers and general account,” said Surendra Prasad Paudel, administrative officer. According to Paudel, the businessmen have to show their papers and prove their innocence within a week.