Category Archives: Consumer Rights

New teams to start market monitoring tomorrow

New teams to start market monitoring tomorrow

DHAKA, Sept 20 (BSS) – The Commerce Ministry has reconstituted its eight market monitoring teams empowering them to monitor markets from production level to kitchen markets.

The new teams would start market monitoring tomorrow and it will continue till December this year, said an official handout today.

Deputy Secretary of the ministry of commerce will lead each team formed with representatives from ministries of Agriculture, Home, Food and Disaster Management, Dhaka City Corporation (DCC), Dhaka district administration, FBCCI and Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC), RAB and Police.

The market monitoring teams will work under a directive of the commerce ministry to appoint distributors.

The new teams will monitor both wholesale and retail markets and inform the ministry of market price, stock and supply situations.

The reconstituted teams have also been empowered to take stringent action against dishonest businessmen and even conduct mobile courts, the handout added.

Govt plans to strengthen consumer rights protection

Govt plans to strengthen consumer rights protection
Talha Bin Habib

The government has planned to strengthen the functions of the Directorate of National Consumers Right Protection (DNCRP), officials said.

As part of the plan, there will be offices of DNCRP in all districts to protect the rights of the consumers.

To this end, initially, the ministry of finance has already given approval for 233 posts of the department.

“DNCRP started functioning last year. We have taken a move to set up our offices at the district level so that unscrupulous traders cannot violate consumers rights,” Md Abul Hossain Mian, additional secretary and director general (DG) of DNCRP, told the FE.

Asked when the district offices of his organisation could start their functions, he said, “We hope they will start in near future once the government decision on determining the required manpower is finalised and subsequent completion of appointments”.

About the function of his organisaiton he said, the main function of the DNCRP is to stem unscrupulous traders for not selling date expired and spurious commodities that kept in packet to the customers.

He said if any consumer feels cheated and deprived by unscrupulous trader then he/ she could lodge complain to the authority of DNCRP.

“The DNCRP fights for the protection of the consumers’ rights after filling the law suit by the deprived customer. If the court gives order for giving financial compensation to the ‘deprived and aggrieved’ consumers then they could get a considerable portion of fined money”.

He said the officials of DNCRP, in their on going raids to different shops and markets in the capital have realised notable amount of taka from the unscrupulous traders.

Earlier the government has formed National Consumers Rights Protection Council (NCRPC). The commerce minister is the chairman of the council.

The function of the NCRPC is to monitor the activities of the DNCRP. It will also provide necessary policy supports and guidelines to the DNCRP.

Representatives of different chamber bodies such as FBCCI, BSTI, CAB, are also the members of the NCRPC.

BSTI set to gear up operation in Sylhet

BSTI set to gear up operation in Sylhet
Staff Correspondent . Sylhet

The Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution is going to expedite its operation in Sylhet by installing specialised equipment to ensure quality of products in the local markets. Necessary equipment to detect the quality of different marketing products has been bought, sources in the BSTI divisional office said.

They said a three-storey building has already been constructed at its own ground of Khadimnagar in the city and necessary equipment, including chemical, physical and metrological testing machines, have been bought at a cost of Tk 10 crore under a development project.

The newly built Sylhet BSTI building is scheduled to be inaugurated towards the beginning of next year. At present, its activities are running at a rented house in the city, the sources said.

They said the BSTI authorities so far have to send the samples of seized goods to its Dhaka office for confirming the quality standards and adulteration in the goods in the absence of required testing machines in Sylhet.

‘As a result, the authorities have to wait for a long time for the test results of the seized samples from Dhaka before reaching any decision about the quality of a product,’ an BSTI employee said.

He said the delay in determining the quality of a product due to lack of equipment would end once the newly bought equipment start operation in the new building.

Besides, the local production company owners also become sufferers in having BSTI approval to start production of any sort of goods for the existing lengthy system, the sources said.

Being contacted, Sylhet BSTI’s deputy director Rezaul Haque told New Age that the installation of the equipment at the newly constructed building is going on and the institute’s activities would be strengthened after inauguration of the BSTI office.

‘Sylhet divisional office of BSTI would be able to do tests of 153 goods of various kinds to determine their quality once the operation of the newly bought equipment begins,’ he added.

Competition law to be enacted by July: Faruk

Competition law to be enacted by July: Faruk
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

The government is going to enact a full-fledged Competition Law by July this year to help ensure healthy competition and efficient pricing in the market.

A core group comprising stakeholders and director general of WTO cell of the commerce ministry is now working on drafting the law by following laws of other countries and the UNCTAD.

When enacted, the law would encounter anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position like creating entry barriers.

The commerce minister Faruk Khan on Thursday asked all involved with the process to complete draft by June saying it will be placed before the parliament in July for approval.

‘We will not formulate such an act that might impede business to grow,’ said Faruk at a discussion on Competition Law in the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) conference room in the city.

Acting commerce secretary M Golam Hossain, EPB vice-chairman Sahab Ullah, chairman of Bangladesh Tariff Commission Mozibur Rahman spoke at the discussion, joined, among others, by economists, researchers and businessmen.

Director general of WTO cell Amitava Chakrabarty gave the keynote paper on Draft Competition Act- 2010 suggesting formulation of a commission dubbed Bangladesh Competition Commission and penalty for violating rules.

Necessary rules are inevitable before enacting the Competition Law, Khan said adding that the government will not formulate any such law that hampers businesses and raises controversy.

The government will be able to disclose time-to-time information about hoarding once the law is formulated, said Faruk Khan.

Commenting on the keynote paper, professor of United International University AK Enamul Haque said the main purpose of the act should be to infuse dynamism into market economy and innovation.

Senior vice president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shahjahan Khan said it must be clear that which agreement is cartel and which not.

In this regard, he cited the example of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which does cartel for harmonising production with price.

It needs to be determined through extensive research, which agreements are cartel, Monsur Alam, member of securities Exchange Commission said, referring to an example of shipbuilding industry.

Chief executive officer of Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute MA Taslim said the Competition Law is being formulated in line with Indian one.

Govt plans digital database to monitor prices, combat cartel

Govt plans digital database to monitor prices, combat cartel
Mehdi Musharraf Bhuiyan

The government has planned to monitor prices of 50 essential commodities through a central database updated digitally in real time in an effort to embolden market surveillance and track down manipulators, officials said Saturday.

Commerce ministry officials said the database would be launched within the next four months with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and made available online.

The real time database of the items would digitally track down latest price situation in cities and all 64 districts in the country and their global rates in major commodity hubs around the world.

The move comes following repeated failures by successive governments to contain “unexplained and artificial” rises of major food and commodity prices in the market.

Due to lack of real evidences and monitoring the government has so far failed to clamp down on the members of the so-called ‘syndicate’ accused of manipulating prices at the expense of poor and middle income people.

Officials said commerce ministry is currently looking to recruit a private firm to develop the sophisticated digital database, with UNDP doing the procurement job as part of its ‘Access 2 Information (A2I)’ aided programme.

“We have already started receiving tender documents from the interested companies. Hopefully, a work order will be issued within the next 15 days”, a UNDP official said.

“We are expecting the central database system to be operational within four months after issuing the work order”, he said.

A commerce ministry official said the database would mostly monitor prices of essential food items nationwide in collaboration with web teams of offices of all 64 district commissioners.

Officials said at the end of the initial trial time of approximately six months, the database would be open to public through online so that the people have access to any information on market prices of the 50 listed commodities.

UNDP would not comment on actual operational cost of the project.

Body to frame policies on consumer rights

Body to frame policies on consumer rights
FE Report

The government has formed a high-powered body to frame guidelines and policies to ensure consumer rights through implementing the consumer protection law.

The body titled ‘National Consumer Rights Protection Parisad’ will give instructions to field-level officials and district committees to enforce the law. It will also build public awareness on protection of consumer rights through implementing the law.

The ministry of commerce has issued a circular recently forming the 29-member body, chaired by commerce minister.

The government has formed the Parisad with public-private participation to include opinions and recommendations of all stakeholders on enforcing the law.

The Parisad will provide assistance and make recommendations to the government for improving the law and administrative direction.

The body will consider and give opinion on government’s different measures initiated for protecting consumers’ rights, the circular said.

“The body will initiate massive campaign and educational programmes to make people of consumers rights,” the circular said.

It will build public awareness on positive aspects of protection of consumers’ rights and negative sides of its violation.

The newly formed Parisad will conduct intensive research on consumers’ rights. It will monitor field-level activities of different departments, directorates and district committees on implementation of consumer protection law.

The incumbent government has passed the Consumer Protection Act-2009 in April last through Parliament incorporating provision to reduce harassment of consumers.

The act has provisions to take punitive measures including fines, seizure and imprisonment, in case of violation of consumer rights.

Considering the necessity of building public awareness and educating people on protecting their rights the government has formed the body recently, officials said.

The law will curb hoarding and market manipulations amid soaring commodity prices and a large gap between supply and demand, they said.

Govt forms consumer rights body

Govt forms consumer rights body
Staff Reporter

The government yesterday constituted ‘National Consumers Rights Protection Council (NCRPC), according to a circular of the Ministry of Commerce yesterday.

The NCRPC would look into the matters related with the consumers’ interest as per the ‘Consumers Rights Protection Law-2009’.

Commerce Minister Mohammad Faruk Khan will be the chairman of the 29-member of the council. Thirteen member would represent government side while fifteen non-government officials will be included into the committee, it added.

The government officials in the council are Commerce Secretary, Director General of Directorate of National Security Agency, Director General of Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institute, Joint Secretary of the Industries Ministry, Joint Secretary of the Agriculture Ministry, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management, Joint Secretary of the Home Ministry, Joint Secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Chairman of Jatiya Mahila Sangstha and Additional Inspector General (IGP) of Special Branch.

President of FBCCI, President of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), President of Jatiya Press Club and Habibur Rahman Siraj, secretary of Awami League on Labour Affairs, are, among those of the fifteen-member representing to the council from the non-government side.