In response to the prevailing sugar shortage in the market, the Salt Trading Corporation (STC) has taken decisive action by doubling its quota to retailers. The state-owned trading company has begun distributing 20 sacks of sugar, each containing 50 kg, to retailers as of Tuesday.
Brajesh Jha, the manager of STC, confirmed that over 450 retailers have already received more than 5,000 sacks of sugar from the corporation. Retailers in the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding districts can procure sugar from STC by presenting their firm registration documents. The corporation has been steadfast in ensuring that sugar is made available at the government-fixed rate of Rs 112.5.
In addition to bolstering the supply to retailers, STC is also offering sugar at a discounted rate of Rs 97 per kg to consumers through its fair price shops. Customers are limited to a maximum purchase of two kilograms of sugar at these outlets. STC, alongside several other state-owned companies, has initiated these fair price shops in preparation for the upcoming Dashain, Tihar, and Chhath festivals.
Nepal typically witnesses a surge in sugar consumption during these festive seasons, with demand estimated at around 35,000 tons. However, recurrent sugar shortages during this period have been attributed to inadequate planning by government agencies.
To address the ongoing crisis, the government has granted tax waivers for two state-owned trading companies, STC and the Food Management and Trading Company, allowing them to procure 10,000 tons of sugar each. Nevertheless, these companies have encountered challenges in procurement due to restrictions on sugar imports imposed by neighboring India. The situation continues to be closely monitored, with the hope of stabilizing the sugar supply in the near future.