JEMC yet to repay Rs 100 billion loan

Kathmandu, January 20

Janak Education Material Centre is operating at a loss for the last 12 years with Rs 100 billion loan yet to be paid. Its accumulated loss has reached Rs 20 million.

JEMC is a government-owned publication house that publishes school textbooks, question papers, ballot papers, government documents, secretive documents, commercial note books and letterheads of various government bodies.

JEMC has yet to pay a loan amount of Rs 100 million taken from various banks and trusts. It has to pay Rs 55 million to Nepal Banijya Bank, Rs 29 million to Citizen Investment Trust and Rs nine million to Bank of Kathmandu. It had taken loan in the last 10 years for various purposes like buying new printing machines and for maintenance of the machines. The government has, however, waived the loan amount of Rs 77 million.

Officials at JEMC said, the centre was at one point almost bankrupt and didn’t even have money to pay monthly salary to its staffers. The centre has 400 staffers at present which is down-sized from 700 two years ago.

General Manager of JEMC Mahesh Prasad Timalsina said over staffing was one of the factors for the loss. “Staffers working here for a long period of time are paid a handsome amount of salary which is in fact better than any government employees of that level. Remuneration paid for over-time and payment of workers hired on temporary basis is also very high compared to other salary of other government bodies,” GM Timalsina said.

However, hardly 100 staffers were present at the office on Thursday afternoon. And most of the staffers present on that day were either temporary staffers or over-time workers. An employee, on condition of anonymity, said the JEMC had become a job centre for the cadres of various political parties.

The office has recently bought two advanced colour web printing machine which could print 100,000 coloured text books in a month. The officials were hopeful that the new machines would help recover the loss. But after the government’s decision to give the responsibility of printing colourful textbooks of Grade I to V to private printing presses, the centre has no chances of recovering its loss any time soon.

The new machines were bought with the money which was waived by the government. The JEMC now has total 13 printing machines, four binding machines  and two plate making machines that can be run for 24 hours continuously.