KATHMANDU: It is mandatory for any product in a consumer-friendly country to have a label. The label contains information such as the name of the product, production process, manufacturer, importer, distributor, and other consumer-relevant details. Nepal’s Consumer Protection Act 2075 BS also makes labeling mandatory for products.

In line with this, the government has made provisions for labeling even in the Economic Act 2080 BS Amendment Ordinance 18. Now, all goods sold in the market must have a label. Imported goods will be inspected for labeling.

As per the aforementioned provision, imported goods that are prepared for import and sent for sale in the market after July 17 must have labels indicating the importer and distributor details.

Non-compliant goods found in the market without labels can be confiscated by the concerned regulatory body. The Department of Commerce and Supplies has also issued information on this matter.

According to the information, the label on imported goods must include the name of the manufacturer or packager, distributor’s name, address, email, website, and item code details. The labeling should be done before sending the goods to the market.

In addition to raw materials used in industries, labels are mandatory for all types of goods that are directly sold and distributed to consumers, excluding structures used in construction and industrial machinery.

The aforementioned provision in the law has caused dissatisfaction among importers, distributors, and businessmen as it creates difficulties for them. The president of the Importers Association of Nepal, Ballabh Raj Sigdel, claimed that mandatory labeling is not possible.

He said, “After import, the importer does not have control over which distributor will sell the goods. Even if foreign companies put labels on limited products in Nepal, it is not practical for them to do so. They can easily import goods illegally without putting stickers on them. Hence, the government’s decision is not practical.” He emphasized the need for digitization and urged consumers to be cautious by making billing mandatory.

He said, “We are exploring the possibility of conducting our own study with the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Supplies. We have not imported goods since the first day of Shrawan.”

Similarly, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry also expressed dissatisfaction, stating that foreign companies do not put labels with detailed information about their presence in Nepal. It is said that around 61% of goods are imported from India and 13% from China.

“A clear display of information is required when labeling imported goods. It is not sufficient to label them in a carton, mono-unit, or each packet,” said FNCCI official, adding, “Who will manage the plastic used for cartons?” He said that such practices should not be allowed in an open market economy.

According to information officer Punyavikram Khadka from the Department of Supplies, the label should be placed by the producer or packager. “Common items have often been labeled as a brand, but this is a search for greater clarity in implementation,” he said.

“It has been implemented in other countries as well. It enables identification of the company that imported the goods, up to the distributor.” He mentioned that labels should include not only warranties and guarantees for all products, but also the introduction of importers and distributors. The Department of Supplies has stated that the labels should be in Nepali or English.

Gajendra Kumar Thakur, Director-General of the Department of Commerce, Supplies, and Consumer Protection, has shown a positive aspect of labeling on goods. He said, “The Consumer Protection Act 2075 has made provisions for labeling. We are now working to fully implement it under the budget.” He mentioned that labeling makes it easier to monitor importers, distributors, and even manufacturers.

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday July 10, 2023, 03:19:57 PM |

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