STC imports sugar to boost reservesSalt Trading Corporation (STC) has imported 10,000 tonnes of sugar in a bid to regularise supplies and keep market prices stable.
Salt Trading Corporation (STC) has imported 10,000 tonnes of sugar in a bid to regularise supplies and keep market prices stable.
The state-owned enterprise has started importing the essential commodity as part of its effort to build up a buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes by mid-November.
STC will be spending a total of Rs5 billion to buy sugar from India. It has received 2,500 tonnes while the remaining 7,500 tonnes has reached the Birgunj Inland Clearance Depot.
STC Chief Executive Officer Urmila Shrestha said they had imported 10,000 tonnes of sugar in the first phase. According to her, another 2,500 tonnes of sugar was shipped by the supplier a few days ago.
STC has been importing sugar from Renuka Sugar Mills, Haldiya, India through a bidding process.
“STC has started importing sugar in a bid to end the private sector’s monopoly and make sugar available at a reasonable price,” Shrestha said. “In addition, we have planned to maintain adequate stocks to prepare for possible shortages as both India and Nepal have experienced low production this year.”
There are 11 sugar mills in operation in the country. They produce 165,000 tonnes of sugar worth Rs14.26 billion annually, according to the Ministry of Industry. The country’s annual requirement of sugar amounts to 215,000 tonnes, and the deficit is covered by imports mainly from India and Brazil.
In the past few months, sugar prices had surged to Rs85-90 per kg from Rs65-70 per kg. The price rise was attributed to STC’s failure to maintain adequate stocks. The private sector has been blamed for jacking up prices on the pretext of lowered supplies.
Shrestha said their sugar would be cheaper by Rs2-3 per kg. STC has been selling sugar at Rs85.50 per kg retail and Rs84 per kg wholesale.
Shrestha said they were yet to fix the selling price of imported sugar. “The price will be calculated based on the cost price, transportation charges and customs duty after the entire quantity has been delivered.”
STC has started work to store double the amount of sugar it normally keeps in stock in line with the government’s plan to boost sugar stockpiles.
In general, STC imports 25,000-30,000 tonnes of sugar every year.
The company started importing sugar after the Finance Ministry released the required funds and provided a 14 percent tax rebate, it said.