Kathmandu, August 2
The Industry, Commerce and Consumer Welfare Committee of the Legislature-Parliament, today, instructed the government not to halt the process of purchasing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets by LPG bottlers. The parliamentary panel issued this directive to the Ministry of Supply (MoS) and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), after MoS instructed NOC to halt the process.
NOC had issued permits to LPG bottlers to purchase their own bullets on July 19. However, the MoS, on July 20, instructed NOC to first regularise the process by formulating the petroleum transportation bylaw and asked the corporation to halt the process.
However, the parliamentary panel, today, said that the government had lowered the customs tariff for LPG bullets through the fiscal budget of 2016-17 to pave way for the LPG bullet purchase. “The government had given priority to purchase of LPG bullets in the government’s policy and programme,” said Bhisma Raj Angdembe, chair of the panel. “As the government had prioritised the purchase of LPG bullets and lowered the customs tariff, we instruct NOC to draft the bylaw and forward it to MoS for its approval at the earliest.”
As per the committee, NOC can extend the permit to the bottling plants to purchase the LPG bullets.
NOC started issuing permits based on ‘Liquefied Petroleum Gas Bylaws-2008’, for which then minister Ganesh Man Pun had given his consent. But after Pun’s resignation, Minister Deepak Bohara assumed office as supply minister and instructed NOC to halt the process of issuing permits.
Till date, the country has been entirely reliant on Indian transporters to ferry the commodity from the source country. Gas bottlers have leased bullets from Indian transport companies for this purpose.
Altogether, 53 gas bottlers had sought permission from NOC to purchase 700 LPG bullets.
NOC had already issued permits to 23 LPG bottling plants to purchase 322 gas bullets, said Mukunda Prasad Ghimire, spokesperson for NOC.
As per Ghimire, NOC had issued permits to the bottlers following the provision of ‘Liquefied Petroleum Gas Bylaws-2008’. At present, NOC is drafting the umbrella bylaw for transportation of all types of petroleum products to better manage transportation of fuel and it will soon be submitted to the MoS for approval.
Currently, Nepali gas bottlers have hired around 520 gas bullets through Indian transport companies to ferry cooking gas. NOC had called for expression of interest from Nepali bottlers to buy bullets on September 25 last year.
Following lobbying from gas bottlers, the government had decided to levy only 34 per cent (of total price) as customs tariff on LPG bullets through budget 2016-17. As new customs tariff has been enforced since the start of the new fiscal, NOC had issued permits to LPG bottlers to purchase the bullets.
A version of this article appears in print on August 03, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.