Beers, cigarettes dearer before budget issuance

- SUMAN BASHYAL, Kathmandu
Beers, cigarettes dearer before budget issuance

Jul 12, 2015-

Some beers and cigarettes have become dearer as the day for the announcement of the new budget nears. Since the government habitually hikes taxes on these products at the start of each fiscal year, traders too regularly stash away their stocks in anticipation of the annual price rise.

Although a number of companies have published the new retail and wholesale rates, some distributors have jacked up prices arbitrarily. Retailers said that wholesalers had already increased prices of some brands even though the manufacturers had not announced the new rates. They also complained that there was a shortage of some brands of liquor and cigarettes.

Dhana Bhandari, proprietor of Jharana Stores at Subidhanagar, said that Gorkha Brewery had published the new prices of their products to be effective from July 1. “We used to pay Rs2,100 for a case of Gorkha beer, now the company said it would cost Rs2,552. Similarly, the price of Carlsberg beer has increased to Rs3,000 from Rs2,896,” she said. According her, she will have to sell a bottle Carlsberg beer at Rs265 compared to the usual price of Rs250. Gorkha beer will cost Rs240 per bottle, up from Rs220.

Similarly, Kumari Shrestha, proprietor of Gyani Cold Store, said that they were having a hard time selling some products as wholesalers had hiked prices even before receiving the company’s notification. “The manufacturer of Ruslan vodka hasn’t changed the retail price tag but we are compelled to charge more as wholesalers are hoarding the vodka and selling it at a higher price to us,” she said.

According to her, wholesalers started charging Rs11,710 for a carton of Ruslan vodka from last week against the usual price of Rs10,410. Shrestha added that they she had not been able to procure some brands of liquor due to a shortage. “There is an artificial shortage of some liquor brands in the market while some traders are selling it by increasing the prices,” said Bishnu Khadka, general secretary of Liquor Traders Association of Nepal. He added that the government should monitor the market to control this kind of artificial shortage and black marketing.

Meanwhile, retailers have been selling cigarettes at a higher price than the maximum retail price (MRP) fixed by the manufacturer. A pack of Surya cigarettes manufactured by Surya Nepal is being sold at Rs160 while the MRP printed on the pack is Rs148.

“Although the company has not raised prices, secondary wholesalers have been hoarding Surya cigarettes and selling them at higher rates to retailers,” said Umesh Poudel, a retailer at Tinkune. “We used to buy a carton of Surya cigarettes at Rs1,410, but it now costs Rs1,510.”

Published: 13-07-2015 07:52

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