No more subsidy on petro-products: Prime Minister

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 12:

Prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has clarified today that the government increased the price of petroleum products as it could not run Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) by giving subsidy only. Deuba was addressing the second national labour conference that kicked off at Birendra International Convention Centre (BICC) today.

The NOC had been incurring a loss of over seven billion rupees annually due to price rise in the international market which the government cannot meet from its exchequer, said Deuba. He also hoped that petroleum products would not flow back to India along bordering areas, following the price hike in Nepal that brings the petroleum product prices closer to the Indian ones. Deuba stressed that labourers should be respected and their security ensured. He said that labourers should be given proper wage rates. He also hinted on plans to start a ‘reward and punishment’ scheme to enhance productivity and make the labour market more competitive. He also called for elimination of child labour, effective management of labour market, making it more transparent and employment-oriented.

Deputy prime minister and minister for finance, Bharat Mohan Adhikari expressed the views that the country has earned huge foreign currencies from foreign employment which has helped Nepal’s economy. Adhikari stressed that labourers who go abroad for jobs need to be efficient in terms of skills, with due training. He said that the labour law should incorporate the issues of child labour elimination, turning the disorganised labour market into an organised one with strong provisions for social security. Due to the ongoing Maoist conflict, many labourers have lost their lives. Therefore, it is all the more important to ensure security for them, he opined. Chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, Pashupati Shumsher Rana said that thousands of labourers have been displaced due to conflict and employment problem. He stressed on the need to identify employment opportunities at a greater speed. President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Binod Bahadur Shrestha was of the view that in the context of WTO, the Nepali labour market should become more competitive and be able to use advanced technologies. He said that there is a need to enhance cooperation between employers, employees and non-governmental organisations.

Urba Datta Pant, State minister for labour and transport minister, trade union leaders Laxman Bahadur Basnet, Mukunda Neupane and others spoke about labours’ security and ‘labour market’.