Govt plans to introduce 19-kg cylinders for commercial use
KATHMANDU, Feb 15: The government is working to introduce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders of different sizes and capacity for commercial and household consumers. It is also planning to fix different prices for the two set of consumers.
"We have already started working out specification and schedule for introducing cylinders of different sizes for general consumers and commercial ventures," said Commerce and Supplies Minister Lekh Raj Bhatta.
Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has also instructed Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to start discussions with LPG bottlers so that it could enforce new arrangements without any hiccups. Currently, LPG in Nepal is supplied in 14.2 kg cylinders only, irrespective of whether it is consumed by general consumers or business enterprises.
But if everything moves well, NOC said commercial consumers including hotels, restaurants, factories, automobiles and other business enterprises would soon find LPG coming in 19-kg cylinders. Cylinders for general consumers, however, will be of the same size as now.
Suresh Kumar Agrawal, acting managing director of NOC, said the corporation has already started a dialogue with the bottlers over introducing different sizes of cylinders. "In fact, we have already asked the companies to start preparations for introducing the 19-kg cylinders," he told Republica, adding that companies have responded to the corporation´s call positively.
Though MoCS and NOC took initiatives for introducing cylinders of different sizes only recently, experts and lawmakers at Parliament´s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have long been pushing the government for introducing differential sizes of cylinders and appropriate pricing in order to narrow down the oil losses. Latest pricing structure shows NOC is presently suffering a loss of Rs 545.17 million in LPG business.
Moreover, of the total 15,000 tons of LPG imported in a month, the corporation estimates that 60 percent is consumed by general consumers while remaining 40 percent is used for industrial purposes. Experts have attribute the loss incurred on LPG to supplying it at the same rate for commercial use.
They suggest the government should introduce different prices for different sets of consumers and introduce a differential pricing.
If that could happen, NOC says its loss on LPG would instantly drop by over Rs 200 million a month.