Liquor factories prepare to re-operate after 6-month shutdown

Published On: November 14, 2019 09:45 AM NPT By: Binod Subedi

BIRATNAGAR, Nov 14: Liquor factories that had remained shut for the last six months 'due to the government's policy' are preparing to restart operation soon, following the government's recent modification of the production rate for the factories producing raw materials for alcoholic drinks (especially whisky).

Past president of Morang Merchant Association and operator of Premier Organic Pvt Ltd, Pawan Kumar Sarada, said: "The factories that were closed after the government impractically increased the production rate will be brought into operation."

Sarada said the preparation for reoperation of factories has begun as a cabinet meeting has decided to revise the old decision.

"The production rate of raw materials was 31% last year, which was suddenly raised to 42%, forcing the factories to stop producing liquor," Sarada said. "Now the rate has been reduced to 34%."

"It was impossible to operate the factories due to the sudden increase of production rate," he added.

However, the decision is yet to be published in the gazette. The decision will be implemented after it is published in the gazette.

Sarada complained that the shutdown of the industries due to the government's policy has caused millions of loss to them. He said: “A single factory has suffered the loss of at least Rs 50 million because of the shutdown.” He complained that the companies lost millions in bank interest, salary of staff, and other expenses. “Who will bear the losses caused by the government? The government took the decision on the basis of speculation, causing confusion in the investment environment.”

"Investors in Nepal are not safe," he said, adding. "The government introduces or changes a policy anytime it wants on the basis of speculations."

Of the total eight liquor companies producing raw materials for whisky, two are in operation in Province 1.

After the shutdown of Nepali factories, alcohol producing companies had been importing raw materials from abroad. The import rate of such raw materials from Biratnagar during the first three months of this fiscal year has increased. According to the statistics of Biratnagar Customs Office, 150,000 liters of such raw materials were imported in the first three months of the current fiscal year. Only 48,000 liters of raw materials used for the production of alcohol were imported in the same period last fiscal year.

Industrialists and merchants had been putting pressure on the government to modify the policy.

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