PM says sugar mill owners fostered black market

Published On: April 8, 2019 02:37 PM NPT By: Sagar Ghimire  | @sagarghi

KATHMANDU, April 8: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli expressed dissatisfaction about how local middlemen escalated sugar prices after the government announced a ban on sugar import to promote local industries and farmers.

In September 2018, the government had decided to ban sugar imports to promote domestic product after import started to threaten the existence of Nepali sugar industries.  

Until the ban was introduced, Nepal imported sugar from Pakistan, Brazil and India. The price of sugar imported from Pakistan was Rs 62 per kg while the sugar imported from Brazil was Rs 60.   

“We banned import but then, we’ve found that local industries and middlemen, themselves, were fostering black marketing,” Oli said on the 18th Annual General Assembly of the Chamber of Commerce said. “A kg of sugar was sold for as much as Rs. 105,” Oli remarked.

The ban coincided the Dashain-Tihar festival where sugar was on high demand. The operators created false shortage while the Ministry for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Prasad Yadav assured of sufficient supply.  According to MoICS, 180,000 metric tonnes of sugar is being produced in the country while the demand is 230,000 metric tonnes. 

“This is not business. This is loot!” the Prime Minister exclaimed.

He added that upon finding about it, the government has slightly relaxed import.  

A kilo of sugar is priced at Rs. 70 today. (April 8, 2019). 

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