Edible oil prices still highPrices of edible oil, among other daily essentials, have continued to remain high even as the blockade has ended and supplies have resumed.
Prices of edible oil, among other daily essentials, have continued to remain high even as the blockade has ended and supplies have resumed.
Retailers said they were not receiving adequate quantity of edible oil. “We are not sure when the prices will come down to pre-blockade levels,” said Hemanta Parajuli, proprietor of Pratham Kadhyanna store in Kathmandu.
However, manufacturers say they are forced to jack up the prices due to high transportation costs and high demand in the market.
After complaints from stakeholders, the Department of Supply Management (DoSM) on Wednesday initiated a probe into the price hikes and shortages of essential goods.
The department has summoned manufacturers, distributors and dealers, seeking information about cost price, maximum retail price and inventory at hand.
Edible oil prices saw a substantial increase during Tarai unrest. Mustard oil, which used to cost Rs140 per litre before the blockade, reached as high as Rs260 per litre. Now, it is stable at Rs160.
However, retailers said their stocks were depleting fast and the suppliers are hinting at a possible short supply in the near future.
“The prices are likely to soar if the inventory depletes at the current rate,” said Ishwor Shrestha, an oil and sugar trader. “However, we are not in a position so say at this point of time whether the shortages are artificial. We lack enough information.”
The wholesale price of sunflower oil jumped by Rs15-20 per litre, the while retail price soared by Rs50-60 per litre.
Oil manufacturers have blamed increase in import costs for the high prices. “A rise in demand and transport costs have pushed up the price of sunflower oil,” said Nepal Vegetable and Ghee Oil Manufacturers Association said in its statement.
Association of Nepalese Rice, Oil and Pulses, in their clarification to the DoSM, said a post-blockade disruption in supply of mustard oil created shortages in the market, pushing up the prices.