KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 20
Unlike the delays that used to occur in the previous years, sugar purchased by Salt Trading Corporation (STC) is all set to arrive on Wednesday.
As per STC, around 2,500 tonnes of sugar will reach Birgunj dry port on Wednesday and within a day or two the commodity will be supplied to Kathmandu. The government had earlier allowed Food Management and Trade Company Ltd (FMTCL) and STC to import 30,000 tonnes of sugar for the festive season.
The government had allowed STC to import 20,000 tonnes of sugar and FMTCL was given the responsibility to bring 10,000 tonnes. Even though sugar purchased by STC will start arriving in a few days, sugar purchased by FMTCL will arrive only towards the end of the Dashain festival. Since the tender process of FMTCL is lengthier than that of STC, the consignment of FMTCL will reach the country later. FMTCL has already handed over tender to import sugar.
Brajesh Kumar Jha, departmental chief of STC, said that the first consignment of 2,500 tonnes of sugar will reach the Birgunj border on Wednesday and the remaining amount will continue to arrive in the following days. Jha mentioned that as the government had delayed in granting permission to STC to import sugar, the consignment is coming a bit late.
Since the process to import the commodity had taken quite some time there were chances that sugar import meant for the festive season would arrive late.
Sensing this delay and also due to the shortage, retailers had even increased the price of sugar. However, sugar will be arriving on time, he added.
Since the stock that STC had has already depleted and the price of sugar has risen at the moment, the corporation is under pressure to bring sugar, Jha stated. Since there will be a few days of break during the festivals, the remaining quantity may arrive a couple of days later, he added. Currently, STC is selling sugar only in retail and not to wholesalers.
Meanwhile, consumers are currently paying Rs 85 to Rs 95 per kg for sugar in the retail market while STC is selling sugar at Rs 70 a kg.
Targeting the festive season, STC has set up outlets in five different locations within Kathmandu valley with discount offers on food items. Similarly, 30 other outlets are being operated outside the valley.
A version of this article appears in print on October 21, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.