Kathmandu, August 27
Consumers hoping some sweet relief this festive season may be in for disappointment as the shortage of sugar looms large.
Salt Trading Corporation and Food Management and Trading Company Ltd (FMTCL) have started the tender process of importing sugar.
While STC has already issued a re-tender notice, FMTCL had issued a tender on August 23 with a 45-day deadline to import sugar.
However, looking at the process of importing the sweetener in the past years, it is quite clear that sugar might not arrive before November.
While STC has claimed that sugar will be imported before the festivals begin, FMTCL has confessed that they will be able to bring sugar only around mid-November.
Though sugar shortage and price hike have become quite normal during the festive seasons, the problems may be further exacerbated this year.
“Soon after getting approval from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, we called for a tender with a 15-day deadline and we received four proposals from interested companies,” said Kumar Rajbhandari, information officer of STC. “However, as some had quoted very high price while none of them had deposited collateral, we had to reject their proposals.”
After that, STC again issued a retender notice on August 23 and till date no one has submitted any proposal.
According to him, sugar price has already gone up in the market due to shortage and even STC does not have any stock at the moment.
“We had called for a 15-day tender, but had to issue a re-tender notice. Hopefully, we will select the company to import sugar soon.”
Rajbhandari, however, admitted that if the tender process becomes too lengthy, it will be difficult to bring sugar by the festive season.
Meanwhile, FMTCL has already said their tender process is quite lengthy and it is unlikely that they will be able to import sugar before November.
“We had already said that sugar will not arrive by Dashain. But the demand for sugar normally spikes during the Tihar festival and we would have imported the sweetener by then,” said Netra Prasad Subedi, CEO of FMTCL.
He, however, said that the tender process would determine the probability of sugar import. “As per the government’s policy, our tender process is quite lengthy. And based on that, we have to go through the selection of the companies. This process will determine when sugar will arrive,” Subedi said, adding, “We have started the process, hopefully we will bring it on time.”
Feature Image: File
A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 28, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.