‘Invest bonus amount to enhance petro infrastructure’

Kathmandu, June 14

A parliamentary sub-committee today again directed the management of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) not to distribute the planned bonuses to its employees and suggested the management to utilise the allocated amount to develop NOC’s own infrastructure and expand fuel storages.

The sub-committee meeting under the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, Industry and Consumer Welfare Relations today said that the so-called profit which NOC has earned in recent years is the result of overcharging customers in fuel rather than by extraordinary business. As per lawmakers, NOC can neither distribute bonuses nor separate budgets under the ‘bonus’ heading as it is a service-oriented regulatory body.

The annual general meeting of NOC in May third week had decided to allocate almost Rs 2.25 billion for bonus distribution to its staffers out of the annual profit that the corporation had booked in the last four years.

“NOC has been collecting huge chunk of money by keeping high profit margin in different petroleum products while fuel price has never come down in the domestic market in tandem with their rates in the international market. NOC cannot claim the amount that it has collected by overcharging customers as profit,” lawmaker Subash Chandra Thakuri said, adding that NOC should use the surplus money in developing its own infrastructure and enhancing its fuel storage capacity.

Thakuri, who is also the coordinator of the committee, directed NOC to come up with a plan to invest the amount allocated for bonus distribution in possible petroleum-related projects as soon as possible.

It is to be noted that NOC is currently making a monthly profit of Rs 300 million, on an average, by keeping high margin in the cost price and selling price of different petroleum products. At present, NOC is making a profit of Rs 30 per cylinder in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), Rs 5.5 per litre in petrol, Rs 1.2 per litre in diesel, Rs 18 per litre in kerosene and Rs 11 per litre in aviation turbine fuel (ATF).

Addressing the meeting, Gopal Bahadur Khadka, managing director of NOC, assured that NOC has no plans to distribute the bonus despite allocating the amount. “Neither the management nor staffers of NOC are eyeing the bonus. We will follow every direction of government and parliamentary committee on issues related to bonus distribution and other petroleum sector-related directives.”