Prior to the holiday season, Nepal is planning to import 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) of sugar from India, which will supply roughly 3,00,000 MT of the Himalayan nation’s annual domestic demand.

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies has requested the Finance Ministry to grant a customs waiver for the import of 60,000 MT of sugar in order to meet the local demand for the upcoming festivals, including Vijaya Dashami and Deepawali. However, for the time being, the Finance Ministry has only approved 20,000 MT of imports.

Dhaniram Sharma, a spokesman for the Finance Ministry, claims that the Ministry has granted a 50% discount on customs duty, which is 15% less than the 30% customs duty that was previously imposed.

According to Sharma, two businesses, Salt Trading Corporation (STC) and Food Management and Trading Company, would each import 10,000 MT of sugar for the upcoming festival season. However, STC’s divisional manager, Brajesh Jha, claimed that the company had requested permission from the government to import 50,000 MT of sugar.

Jha estimates that Nepal needs to import a sizable amount of sugar, mostly from India, to meet its huge domestic sugar demand, which is 3,00,000 MT. Around 1,00,000 MT of sugar are produced by 12 sugar mills in Nepal.

At least 70% of the sugar imported by Nepal comes from India, according to estimates. Additionally, thousands of tons of sugar are imported without paying customs duty through illegal channels. On the black market in Kathmandu, sugar is sold for between 100 and 125 Nepali Rupees per kilogram, compared to 40 to 50 Rupees in India.

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