National Supply Company in offing
Kathmandu, May 9
The government is preparing to merge the ill-fated National Trading Ltd (NTL) with Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) to form an autonomous National Supply Company (NSC).
A highly-placed source at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) informed The Himalayan Times that an independent committee of experts is currently studying the prospects of merging these two entities and operation modality of the yet-to-be-formed supply company.
“We are preparing to recommend the government to merge these two entities through the upcoming budget speech for the 2018-19 fiscal year,” said the MoICS source, adding that the two government firms will start joint operation after this plan gets a nod from the government.
Citing that NTL had been persistently incurring losses and adding financial burden on the government, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) had recommended the then Ministry of Supplies (MoS) to shut down NTL in January and had given voluntary retirement to 264 NTL staffs.
The government had then formed a committee to hold due diligence audit of NTL to identify actual property of NTL. As per the committee’s preliminary study, NTL has property worth almost Rs 25 billion across the country.
“After shutting down NTL, property of the company worth billions of rupees has remained unused. We are thinking of ways to utilise them and one of the options is to merge NTL with NFC,” informed Mukunda Poudyal, joint-secretary at MoICS.
Sources informed that the National Supply Company will look after issues related to supply of essential goods in the domestic market. Such goods include rice and other food grains, sugar and different machinery equipment.
“Both NTL and NFC have warehouses across the country. If they are merged, it would be easier for the government to store ample essential goods for emergency purposes,” said Poudyal, adding that formation of an autonomous government-owned supply company is necessary also to ensure smooth supply of essential goods across the country, especially in remote areas.
In the long run, the National Supply Company could also enter into fuel supply business and diversify Nepal’s fuel trade, as per MoICS officials.
Earlier, the government had also discussed other possibilities for NTL, including merging it with Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), allowing NTL to start fuel trade with China, developing five-star hotels on its property or developing international standard exhibition halls on the premises of NTL.