KATHMANDU, Jan 12: Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) on Saturday announced to provide a month’s pay as a bonus to its employees although its similar announcements in the past were barred by various government bodies including parliamentary committees.
The state-owned oil monopoly had courted serious controversy when it announced to provide bonus to its employees previously. The NOC has faced criticism for distributing lucrative allowances to its employees that include even laundry service of the office uniform used by the NOC staffers.
Commerce Secretary and the Chairman of the NOC Board, Baikuntha Aryal announced the bonus equivalent to the monthly pay of the staffers at a function organized to mark its golden jubilee in the capital on Saturday. There are more than 700 employees working in the state-owned enterprise.
According to the record of the NOC, the enterprise in the fiscal year 2018/19 earned a profit of Rs 7.50 billion. It paid the government a total tax amount of Rs 63.85 billion, out of which Rs 11.95 billion was contributed to the infrastructure tax targeted for the construction of the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project.
Although NOC has been doing brisk business in the past few years, especially after it adopted automatic pricing mechanism in 2014, its attempt to distribute annual bonuses were barred by lawmakers time and again in the past too.
In 2017, NOC allocated Rs2.36 billion as bonuses to employees.
But it was forced to withdraw the decision following an intervention by the Industry, Commerce, and Consumers’ Welfare Protection Committee of the House of Representatives. While NOC is criticized more often for failing to maintain financial transparency, the enterprise was even found reluctant to reduce the price according to the prices of petroleum products in the international market and was involved in a foul play of showing money allocated in development fund as its income, apparently to distribute bonuses to its employees.
In another case, NOC attempted to distribute bonuses even as it was facing a huge loss in the petroleum business. A few years ago, the enterprise had tried to distribute the bonuses despite having accumulated a loss in hand as the corporation owed up to Rs 36 billion in dues to the government and various other financial institutions.
The cumulative profit of the NOC in fiscal year 2017/18 stood at an astounding Rs 14.47 billion, according to a Finance Ministry report.