Govt will reconsider scraping of fuel import permits: PMPrime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal on Saturday told a delegation of business leaders representing the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) that his government would “correct” the previous administration’s decision to scrap petroleum import licenses awarded to private sector firms.
Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal on Saturday told a delegation of business leaders representing the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) that his government would “correct” the previous administration’s decision to scrap petroleum import licenses awarded to private sector firms.
“This government will correct such an inconsistent decision of the previous government,” a leading business person quoted Dahal as saying.
In less than two weeks after the Supply Ministry headed by Ganesh Man Pun, a Maoist leader, issued the licenses to nine private sector companies, the KP Sharma Oli-led government reversed the decision after the CPN (Maoist Centre) exited the government.
On July 10, the licences were issued to Birat Petroleum, National Petroleum, Petrolimex, Himalayan Enterprises, Trans-Himalayan Corporation, Sonapur Mineral Oil, DD Petroleum, Avinash Energy and Malika Petroleum. However, a Cabinet meet on July 20 scrapped the permits.
The government had given the companies a two-year time to develop necessary infrastructure. They were told to build storages to stock at least 20,000kl of fuel—14,000kl of petrol, 5,000kl of diesel and 1,000kl of kerosene.
The government had inducted private players in the oil business following India’s trade embargo last year that had triggered severe fuel shortages for more than five months.
The prospective fuel importers have flayed the government, stating such a policy inconsistency forced them to incur huge financial losses.
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is the sole supplier of petroleum products in the country. Entry of the private sector is expected boost competition in the market, ensuring smooth supply. But questions are also being raised whether the private sector has enough infrastructure to import sensitive materials like petroleum products.
Meanwhile, the FNCCI delegation requested PM Dahal to work to improve the country’s business environment. “It is high time the government brought policies to boost the private sector’s morale, which at its lowest ebb,” said FNCCI President Pashupati Murarka in the meeting.
FNCCI Vice-presidents Shekhar Golchha and Kishor Kumar Prahan and executive committee members Chandra Prasad Dhakal, Ashok Kumar Todi, Jyotsna Shrestha, Ashok Kumar Temani and Bijay Sing Baidhya were also present in the meeting.
In the meeting, PM Dahal said he has always prioritised the private sector, according to the FNCCI. “I will soon hold a meeting with the private sector and find out a possible solution to problems faced by businesses,” Murarka quoted Dahal as saying.