Nepal | May 28, 2020

MoS seeks MoF’s nod to allow National Trading to start fuel trade

Himalayan News Service
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National Trading Limited. Photo: Bikesh Prajapati/THT

Kathmandu, November 26

The Ministry of Supplies has sought principle agreement with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to allow National Trading Ltd (NTL) to enter into fuel trading agreement with China. In a recent letter to the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of Supplies (MoS) has sought permission to allow NTL to import petroleum products from northern neighbour China.

Mukunda Poudel, spokesperson for MoS, informed that allowing NTL to import fuel from China is a part of the government’s plan to diversify the country’s petroleum industry. However, MoS officials have said that NTL will start petroleum trading with China as a subsidiary company of the state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC).

“We will officially allow NTL to start fuel trading with China after MoF gives a nod to our proposal,” informed Poudel.

Stating that NTL had been incurring heavy losses since many years, the government in July had decided not to operate NTL in its current format. Moreover, the government had introduced ‘voluntary retirement’ scheme for NTL employees and all 264 staffers of the state company opted for this scheme and have already taken retirement from the government enterprise.

The study committee had floated five possibilities of reviving NTL under a new format and one of the five possibilities suggested by the study committee was to allow NTL to import fuel from China as a subsidiary company of NOC.

As per MoS officials, allowing NTL to enter into fuel trade among different other recommended possibilities, was the most feasible option. However, Poudel said that the government can also go with other possibilities recommended for reviving NTL.

Besides allowing NTL to start fuel trade with China, the study committee had also suggested the government to merge the defunct NTL with Nepal Oil Corporation, develop NTL as a supply company of the government and use NTL’s property to construct an international standard exhibition centre. Similarly, the study committee had also floated the idea of dissolving NTL and developing government-owned five-star hotels by utilising the NTL property.

Following a nod from MoF, the Ministry of Supplies is expected to table the proposal to convert NTL to a fuel trading company in the Cabinet. Allowing NTL to import fuel from China will also end the decades-long monopoly of Indian Oil Corporation in fuel supply to Nepal.

However, the Finance Ministry is yet to respond to the proposal of MoS.

A version of this article appears in print on November 27, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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