Govt's welcome move to address sugar shortage

Published On: November 7, 2023 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

As the festival of Tihar approaches, sugar becomes one of the most sought-after commodities in the market. The festival's traditions, characterized by a delightful array of sweets and delicacies, make it the second most significant celebration in Hindu culture in Nepal. However, as the festive season unfolds, the nation grapples with a severe shortage of sugar. The demand for sugar surges as Tihar, the festival of lights and sweets, draws near. This situation not only results in a scarcity of sugar but also offers unscrupulous businesspeople an opportunity to hoard and profit from exorbitant pricing. Amid this challenging backdrop, there is a glimmer of hope for households across the country. India has graciously agreed to supply Nepal with 25,000 metric tons of sugar before the Tihar festival. Faced with a critical sugar shortage, the government expedited the process to procure 20,000 metric tons of sugar from India. New Delhi has reportedly endorsed this proposal made by Nepal a few days ago. Importantly, out of the 25,000 metric tons of sugar, 20,000 metric tons will be exempt from customs duties. While the first 20,000 metric tons of sugar will arrive from our southern neighbor within a week, the remaining 5,000 metric tons will follow post-Tihar without customs exemptions. 

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has confirmed that the government has already contacted the Indian Embassy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate the procurement of 20,000 metric tons of subsidized sugar. India will oversee the sale of sugar to Nepal through government entities, with the sugar being purchased by Nepal's Food Management and Trading Company. Additionally, the government has extended permission to the Salt Trading Corporation and Food Management and Trading Company to import sugar. Both companies will acquire and distribute 10,000 metric tons of sugar each before Tihar. The Salt Trading Corporation is diligently working to expedite the sugar procurement process through a fast track mechanism, and negotiations regarding the quality and pricing of sugar are in the final stages.

During the festive season, it is the government's responsibility to ensure that essential goods and services are readily available to the people. We are heartened to observe the government's commitment to ensuring a convenient supply of sugar and its call for consumers not to fall prey to inflated prices and fraud. While efforts are underway to guarantee an adequate sugar supply in the market, authorities must take stringent action against those involved in hoarding sugar, creating artificial shortages, and inflating prices. Reports of sugar hoarding necessitate swift and decisive measures to address this market shortfall. The government's initiative to inject additional sugar into the market is a commendable step in the right direction. We extend our appreciation to the government for its proactive measures to address the sugar shortage, thus ensuring a sweeter Tihar for all.


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