OCP inspected commercial enterprises in two Dzongkhags

Office of the Consumer Protection

STAFF REPORTER

Thimphu

The market monitoring by the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) under Ministry of Economic Affairs, which was carried out between July 30 and August 11 with logistical assistance from the Regional Office of Economic Affairs (RoEA), covered a total of 95 entities in Sarpang and 39 entities in Samdrup Jongkhar.

According to the findings, administrative actions were taken, and the business entities have been told to change their business practices.

The business entities, which include supermarkets, car repair shops, and butcher shops, adhere to the minimal legal standards, including the issuance of money receipts, the labeling of products, the use of proper/standard weights and measurements, and the display of prices.

According to the Market Monitoring Report for Samdrup Jongkhar and Sarpang published by OCP, of the 95 entities inspected, 58.6 percent comprises of 29 grocery shops, eight meat shops and 20 automobile workshops in Sarpang Dzongkhag maintained printed cash memo or receipt books and were issued when consumers demanded.

The OCP found out that there is lack of adequate labeling of locally packaged items such as dal, dried fish, zaw (roasted puff rice), dried mushroom, chana (gram) and local rice was still prevalent.

It further observed that none of the business, except four, were using calibrated weighing machines. Even those four are due for re-calibration. And only 27.4 percent of business entities which includes six grocery shops, 12 meat shops and eight automobile workshops were found displaying the price for goods/services.

Similarly, it was also observed that real net weight of the locally packed products such as dal, dried fish, zaw, dried mushroom, chana and local rice were accurate except in five shops where it was below real weight by 3 to 15 grams.

Also, products including 2X Spicy noodles, maida and atta (flour) and Samyang Topokki noodles pass their expiry dates were found displayed for sale in 12 business entities and a total of 18 spare part & accessories retail shops were inspected out of which nine entities were found operating without a valid license.

Similarly, in Samdrup Jongkhar, 61.5 percent of the business entities which includes eight grocery, four meat shops and 12 automobile workshops-maintained cash memo/ receipts books. And 36.4 percent of grocers (8 out of 22) sold locally packed/re-packaged items such as dal, dried fish, zaw, dried mushroom, chana and local rice without adequate labeling.

It also observed that only two business entities had weighing machines which were calibrated in the past. Even those are due for re-calibration.

The net-weight of the locally packed products were within the permissible allowable limits, except in four shops. The discrepancy ranged between 2 to 10 grams below the purported weights. And one grocer had for sale 2X Spicy cup noodles and Bulbak Cup noodles which had passed expiry date.

Meanwhile, the team explained and issued notices to all businesses exhorting the need to comply to minimum regulatory requirements.

The team had issued a letters requiring rectification or remedy was issued to nine business entities in Samdrup Jongkhar and Sarpang together to rectify weight discrepancies and calibration of weighing equipment.

Further a list of business entities selling expired products were forwarded to the BAFRA Office, Gelephu and Samdrup Jongkhar to act as per their rules and regulations. Also, a list of business entities operating without valid business licenses were sent to RoEA, Gelephu for necessary action and the complete list of all business entities which required weights and measures calibration and recalibration were sent to Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) for their action.

The inspection team also conducted advocacy and distributed electronic copies of a Customer Service Etiquette Fact Sheet in both Dzongkha and English for better consumer services and all actions will be followed up within two weeks to ensure for compliance and rectifications.