Fuel price will be adjusted only in January, says NOC

Kathmandu, December 23

A day after a sub-committee of the Legislature-Parliament directed the government to roll back fuel price hike, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has said that it would revise the fuel price only in the first week of January.

Talking to The Himalayan Times today, Gopal Bahadur Khadka, managing director of NOC, said new fuel rates would be fixed once Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) sends new fuel rates on January 1.

“We have formed a technical committee to address concerns raised by the parliamentary sub-committee on the recent price hike of petroleum products. The committee will advise the NOC management to take the necessary decision on new adjustment in fuel price,” said Khadka, adding that NOC will adjust new fuel rates in the first week of January as per the suggestion of NOC’s technical committee and new rates for fuel that IOC sends on January 1.

IOC sends fuel rates to NOC on the first and 16th date of the English calendar. As per Khadka, new adjustment in fuel price in January will address concerns of the House sub-committee.

The Parliamentary sub-committee, on Thursday, had directed the Ministry of Supplies (MoS) to roll back the recent price hike in petroleum products citing that price hike this time was untimely and against the mandate of Automatic Fuel Pricing Mechanism of the government. NOC had hiked price of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs 4.5 per litre each effective from Monday owing to increased rate of fuel sent by IOC for the second half of December.

NOC had also mentioned that hike in price of fuel was needed to control possible smuggling of petroleum products in southern border areas due to the price gap in petroleum products in Nepal and India.

Lawmakers had criticised the recent price hike citing that it came at a time when oil price in the international market was declining and NOC should have controlled price hike through the Price Stability Fund of NOC which has Rs 2.83 billion.

However, an NOC official requesting anonymity, said that current price hike of petroleum products by NOC was logical and lawful as Ministry of Finance had earlier written a letter to NOC to reduce price gap of petroleum products in southern border areas.

Meanwhile, MoS today wrote a letter to NOC directing it to take necessary decisions with respect to charges made by the House panel on fuel price hike. “Fuel price will be reduced soon. NOC will soon take a decision to this effect,” MoS Spokesperson Surya Shrestha said.