NOC likely to cut fuel prices

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Dec 30, 2016-

Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) is likely to roll back prices slightly on Sunday following criticism by lawmakers over its recent price hike. Fuel prices could go down by up to Rs2.50 per litre, an NOC official said. 

The state-owned oil monopoly had jacked up the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs4.50 per litre on December 19, explaining the move as an effort to prevent cross-border smuggling to India where they cost more. Currently, petrol costs Rs101.50 per litre while diesel and kerosene cost Rs77.50 per litre each. 

Last week, a subcommittee of the parliamentary Committee on Industry, Commerce and Consumer Welfare Protection had summoned officials of the Supplies Ministry and NOC to explain the price hike. 

The officials said that gasoline cost up to Rs20 per litre more in India, and they had raised prices to narrow the gap. However, lawmakers did not buy the argument and ordered them to roll back prices immediately. 

Subsequently, NOC formed a three-member technical committee led by Managing Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka to study the matter. The panel submitted its report on Thursday.  “NOC submitted the report to the ministry which was forwarded to the parliamentary subcommittee,” said Surya Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for the ministry. The report too said that NOC had hiked prices to prevent smuggling. 

“The report was prepared after conducting a study of petrol prices in Indian border markets,” said Nagendra Sah, acting deputy managing director of NOC. 

The corporation has been criticized severely for hiking prices excessively when it has been raking in massive profits. Following the price revision, NOC’s monthly projected profits jumped to Rs280 million.

However, another report prepared by the ministry concluded that there was negligible smuggling of fuel to Indian border towns. 

NOC has also been condemned for flouting government rules on raising fuel prices.

Published: 30-12-2016 09:07

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