Committee calls all airports shops to sell water, biscuits, and noodles at MRP

Tribhuvan International Airport. TIA immigration - gold smuggling case
Main building of the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Kathmandu, December 20

Shops operating within Nepal’s airports will now be prohibited from charging prices exceeding the maximum retail price (MRP) for essential items such as water, biscuits, and other snacks.

The recommendation committee, established by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), has concluded its report, suggesting that these items should be retailed at the maximum allowed price. CAAN formed a high-level committee on October 19 to establish pricing limits for goods and services within airports nationwide.

Jagannath Niraula, Deputy Director General of the Authority, chaired the committee, which submitted its findings to Pradeep Adhikari, Director General of the Authority on Tuesday.

Complaints from consumers about inflated prices within airport shops, compared to those outside, prompted action. In response, the Minister for Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, Sudan Kirati, inspected Tribhuvan Airport in October. During his inspection, it was revealed that some shops did not adhere to the maximum retail price (MRP), and high prices were being charged on items like water, biscuits and even noodles. The airport management, in light of these findings, requested the commerce department to monitor and regulate pricing practices.

In the report submitted on Monday, the committee stated, “The relevant office should instruct individuals, firms, and companies to sell essential items consumed by common consumers at the airport, such as bottled water, biscuits, noodles, etc., with packaging at the maximum retail price.”

Additionally, the committee highlighted that when establishing the prices of goods and services sold at wholesale rates, shops should consider a range of costs. These encompass electricity tariffs, contract amounts, structural costs, furnishings, and staff training expenses. The committee has strongly recommended that relevant offices issue explicit instructions to establish a fair and transparent pricing mechanism.

The committee has put forth a recommendation for the publication of a price list and advocated for essential amendments to the Airport Service Charge Regulations of 2022 to facilitate the legal arrangements. In line with this, the committee strongly advises against maintaining unnatural or inflated prices when establishing the pricing of goods. To enhance transparency and consumer awareness, the committee further recommends that the mandatory creation of a price list for goods and services sold at each post within the airport should be implemented.

The committee has also recommended that the prices of goods and services offered by restaurants, business lounges, and executive lounges within the airport should not surpass the market prices charged by hotels and restaurants of similar standards.

To enforce this guideline, the committee has suggested that the relevant office issue clear instructions. Furthermore, the committee has stated in its report that individuals, firms, and companies involved in selling these goods and services are prohibited from compromising on the quality of the items being sold. This measure aims to maintain fair pricing practices, ensuring that consumers receive value for their purchases and that the quality of goods and services remains consistent with established standards.

The committee further recommends that the relevant office conduct a comprehensive study to determine suitable locations for commercial activities at the airport and identify the types of shops that should be operated in these areas. Additionally, the committee suggests managing contracts based on the findings of this study.

To ensure adherence to guidelines and agreements, the committee advises the office to establish a regular monitoring mechanism. This oversight should verify the implementation of instructions and agreements given to shopkeepers, promoting accountability and compliance with the established regulations in commercial activities at the airport.

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