NOC plan gathers dust

Kathmandu, January 27:

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) has been long planning to provide subsidy for the down-trodden people and students. But still the draft manual for subsidy is gathering dust in the Ministry of Commerce and Supply (MoCS).

Though there is no actual data of down trodden people, there are six lakh students from plus two level to the university — according to a survey — who could get subsidised kerosene and gas, if it comes into implementation.

However, speaking at an interaction on ‘NOC and Transparency’ here today Lalit Bahadur Limbu, acting chief commissioner of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), said that CIAA will start monthly monitoring of the Ministry of Commerce and Supply as it received a lots of complaints of the ministry.

“The CIAA is soon going to launch monitoring programmes to check corruption in the ministry,” Limbu said addressing the programme organised by Human Development and Anticorruption Group (HUDAG) to mark its eight anniversary.

The sole supplier of the petroleum products has, however, been making profit in recent months — though it has accumulative loss of around Rs 15 billion — due to drop in the prices of oil in the international market. In December, NOC posted a profit of Rs 426.9 million and January might see equal amount of profit.

“But NOC couldnot downward revise price immediately due to fluctuations in international prices,” Digamber Jha, managing director of NOC said adding that price adjustment according to international price is impractical as it might encourage back flow of petroleum pro-ducts to India due to price difference in bordering towns in India and Nepal.

Meanwhile, Saroj Raj Pandey, president of Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA) blamed the supplies ministry for encouraging corruption. “The ministry is itself involved in the corruption,” he accused. “It took NPDA a lots of effort to pressurise ministry to equalise diesel and kerosene price,” he said adding that Rs 700 million corruption has been stop-ped after equalisation.

According to the figure, NOC has around Rs 60 billion annual transaction. It also pays a huge amount of tax at around Rs 12 billion to the gopvernment.

Nepal has one of the highest Air Turbine Fuel (ATF) charges. “Due to high ATF price most of the international airlines are not willing to fly to kathmandu,” said Prachanda Man Shrestha, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board. “The expensive aviation fuel has also adversely affected the frequency of international flights,” he added.

Hong Kong has reduced the ATF surcharge for some international airlines, including Nepal Airlines Corp, to attract more international flights. NOC has also reduced ATF prices thrice since October 2008 but its in no mood to reduce again soon.

“NOC imported 68,534.11 KL of ATF during the fiscal year 2007-08, whereas it sold 68,938.21 KL, according to the data.

NOC figures reveal that the total petroleum products imported during the fiscal year 2007-08 is at 7,25,622.63 KL, whereas it sold a total of 7,27,762.92 KL of Petroleum products.