THT 10 years ago: India cuts import duty on palm oil

Birgunj, August 3, 2007

Nepali ghee manufacturers were jubilant at the announcement by minister for finance Dr Ram Sharan Mahat to bring down export duty by 50 per cent, from an earlier eight per cent to four per cent.

But their joy did not last long as just before its implementation, India has slashed import duty on palm oil. India on July 23 fixed a 45 per cent duty, a reduction by five per cent, on the import of palm oil, the raw material used to produce vegetable oil. Mahat had slashed the export duty to four per cent from eight per cent.

The reduction meant that the price of vegetable ghee would  come down by Rs 6.40 per kg, manufacturers said. “Rise in palm oil price and a minimum difference on customs duty between the two countries have made vegetable ghee export very challenging”, director of Narayani Refinery Shrawan Chachan said.

Price of vegetable ghee per jar containing 15 kg in the Indian market is Rs 720.

The same costs Rs 625 in the local market. Transportation cost, the commission of India’s State Trading Corporation (Rs 1,800 per metric tonne) and state governments’ tax have made vegetable ghee export competitive, ghee exporters said.

Although transportation cost is not high, a major chunk of the profit goes to pay state governments’ tax in India.

NEFIN brought into line with govt on quota

The government and Nepalese Federation of Indigenous and Nationalities (NEFIN) talks teams today reached an understanding that each of the government-listed 59 ethnic communities would have a minimum representation in the constituent assembly.

“We have reached an understanding to ensure at least one representation to each of the government-listed ethnic communities in the constituent assembly and Tuesday’s meting will discuss the modalities for the same,” Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel said at the conclusion of the meeting at Hotel de l’Annapurna.

NEFIN talks team leader Dr Om Gurung told the mediapersons that they settled for the minimum representation to all the 59 ethnic communities. He said the government was also positive to make special arrangement to accommodate other minorities in the constituent assembly.

There are some 30 such minority communities, who are least likely to get elected through mixed election system. The government is expected to come up with special provision to include them in the constitution-making process. Gurung said they also discussed the ways of forming the commission on restructuring the state.

“We have asked the government that the commission should be inclusive and the state must be restructured on the basis of ethnicity, geography and economic viability of a federal state,” said Gurung .