Kathmandu, April 12
Last year, the country’s import of sugar surged by more than three folds compared to the year before, which far exceeded the actual demand in the Nepali market.
According to the 56th annual report of Office of the Auditor General (OAG), a total of 274,000 metric tonnes of sugar was imported in fiscal 2017-18, against import of 71,000 metric tonnes of sugar in 2016-17.
The import of sugar went up rapidly in line with its falling price in the international market. In order to control sugar import, the government had also mulled over banning sugar import. Following pressure from the sugar mill operators, the Ministry of Finance had decided on December 11, 2017 to increase import duty of sugar from 15 per cent to 30 per cent. However, the decision was implemented only on April 17, 2018.
“Government revenue worth Rs 536 million was affected due to delay in implementation of the decision,” reads the report. While the sugar import rose significantly, sugar produced within the country remained stored in warehouses. Consequently, sugar mill operators are yet to clear their dues to the sugarcane farmers, while the market was flooded by cheap imported sugar.
Sugar mill operators could not be contacted for comment on this issue despite repeated attempts.
A version of this article appears in print on April 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.