Kathmandu, February 10
The government-owned enterprise National Trading Ltd (NTL) is set to sell the 11,300 sets of induction heaters received as grant assistance from China at less than half their actual price.
The Chinese government had provided the induction heaters in March last year as immediate relief to fuel-strapped Nepal. The Chinese government had granted the induction heaters (which costs Rs 11,995 each) on the condition that the total cost of heaters would be deducted from the Official Development Assistance (ODA) of China to Nepal.
However, Nepalis did not warm up to buying the products as the cost of the heaters turned out to be relatively higher when compared to similar products available in the market.
After such a huge volume of induction heaters remained unused with the government, the Ministry of Supplies had directed NTL to clear the stock of the stoves by lowering their price a few months ago. NTL had then formed a price-setting committee, which recently recommended the board of NTL to fix the prices of induction stoves at Rs 4,500 each.
“The board meeting of NTL scheduled for next week will decide on the recommendation of the price fixation committee,” Laba Raj Joshi, general manager of NTL, said.
NTL has 1,300 of the China-granted induction stoves in its warehouse, while the remaining 10,000 are still at the Customs Office, as per Joshi.
“The government cleared customs procedures of the induction stoves in the name of NTL, which means NTL has to pay almost Rs 25 million to have the products released. Similarly, the demurrage charge of the stoves has crossed over Rs 10 million,” Joshi said, adding that NTL is not in a position to pay these charges as it would further add to the financial burden of NTL.
NTL, one of the many loss-making state entities, already owes more than Rs 1.5 billion to the government.
However, Joshi informed that Ministry of Finance (MoF) has expressed commitment to waive off all such taxes on the Chinese induction cookers.
“We will sell these cookers in the market as soon as the NTL board finalises its price,” added Joshi.
NTL plans to sell the induction cookers received as Chinese grant through its various outlets across the country, including in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan.
A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.