House panel directs MoF to clear dues of PEs within a month

Kathmandu, March 20

A parliamentary sub-committee on Commerce, Industries and Consumer Welfare Relation today directed the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to reimburse the subsidy amount to different government-owned public enterprises (PEs) within a month which they had incurred while running fair price outlets during the festive seasons in past years.

The sub-committee also directed Ministry of Supplies (MoS) to facilitate the process by providing necessary papers related to subsidy reimbursement of PEs to MoF as soon as possible.

Government entities, including Nepal Food Corporation (NFC), Salt Trading Corporation (STC) and National Trading Ltd (NTL) are yet to receive a combined Rs 122 million from the government as reimbursement, they say.

As per STC, the government is yet to reimburse Rs 80 million for the loss that it incurred while selling different products to customers at subsidised rates during festive seasons in the past. Similarly, NFC and NTL are yet to be issued Rs 40 million and Rs 2.3 million, respectively, from the government, according to them. These government entities had been complaining that delay in issuing such reimbursement amount from the government is adding to their financial burden.

“Fair price outlets should be promoted not only during festive seasons but throughout the year as it directly benefits consumers. In a bid to encourage public enterprises to give continuity to operate such fair price shops in days to come, the government should clear all pending reimbursement amount to these entities,” Subash Chandra Thakuri, coordinator of the sub-committee, said.

On direction from the government with assurances to subsidise the loss, public enterprises operate fair price shops every year during festive seasons like Dashain, Tihar and Chhath. Through such outlets, public enterprises sell essential goods, including rice, sugar, salt, lentils, LPG, dairy products and machinery items, among others, at subsidised rates.

Meanwhile, the sub-committee also directed MoS to do the needful so that the subsidy amount to public enterprises for operating fair price shops during festive season is allocated in the annual budget speech of the government from next fiscal year.

Similarly, the sub-committee also asked MoS to present the details of the total amount that Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has collected from consumers on fuel products under ‘pollution tax’ heading and moves that MoS and Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) have taken to control pollution in the country.