Ahead of the festive season, Nepal is set to import 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) of sugar from India, which meets at least 70 per cent of the Himalayan country’s domestic annual demand of approximately 3,00,000 MT.
In view of the upcoming festivals, including Vijaya Dashami and Deepawali, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has asked the Finance Ministry to give customs waiver for importing 60,000 MT of sugar to meet the local demand. The Finance Ministry has, however, given permission to import only 20,000 MT for the time being.
According to Finance Ministry spokesperson, Dhaniram Sharma, the Ministry has given 50 per cent discount on customs duty, which means 15 per cent less from the earlier imposed 30 per cent customs duty.
Two companies, Salt Trading Corporation (STC) and Food Management and Trading Company, both would import 10,000 MT sugar each for the upcoming festival season, according to Sharma. However, divisional manager of STC Brajesh Jha said that it had asked the government permission to import 50,000 MT of sugar.
According to Jha, Nepal’s domestic demand for sugar stands at 3,00,000 MT and it needs to import a huge quantity of sugar mainly from India. There are 12 sugar factories in Nepal that produce around 1,00,000 MT of sugar.
According to an estimate, Nepal imports at least 70 per cent sugar from India. Besides, thousands of tons of sugars are brought through illegal channel without paying customs duty.
Sugar is available in the black market in Kathmandu and the prices ranges from Nepali Rupees 100 to 125 per kg, where as it costs around Rs 40 - 50 in India.