NOC seeks CIAA support to carry out cylinder verification
Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) requested Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority's (CIAA) support in carrying out cooking gas cylinder verification.
The state petroleum supply monopoly sought the anti-corpution watch dog's help after the gas bottlers refused to cooperate in cylinder verification that was started last month. NOC started to verify cylinder to make it easier to fix the scientific quota of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that can help manage smooth supply.
NOC has been fixing quota as per the number of cylinders provided by bottling plants. As there is no verified records of gas cylinders, the NOC has asked the bottling plants to submit the necessary documents, including the value added tax (VAT) bill of cylinders for confirmation of number of cylinders that bottling plants have circulated in the market.
Subsequently, the gas bottlers threatened NOC to halt the import and distribution of cooking gas.
There are 55 gas bottlers in the country that claim to circulate 5.5 million cylinders in the market. The NOC has been fixing cooking gas import quota on the basis of the number of cylinders that Nepal LP Gas Industries Association said was circulated in the market. When some bottling plants failed to import gas according to their quota – creating short supply in the market – NOC doubted the actual number of cylinders, the bottlers said have been circulating in the market.
The NOC had also increased the quota, according to the gas bottlers demand to 29,000 tonnes from 22,377 tonnes since January, as the bottlers complained of less import quota for the short supply. According to NOC spokesperson Mukunda Ghimire, NOC will revise the quota for each bottler after cylinder verification. "NOC has been verifying the number of cylinders that each bottling plant has circulated," he said, adding that the NOC will adjust the quota accordingly after the verification. NOC officials have said that they will cross-verify the number of cylinders with the respective Inland Revenue Offices, where bottling plants pay taxes. "It will help NOC find out the exact number of cylinders," Ghimire added.
The state petroleum monopoly is also forwarding the list of gas bottling plants that are not cooperating to the CIAA.
Meanwhile, NOC is also preparing to amend LPG bylaw to put the mandatory provision to take approval of NOC before purchasing fresh cooking gas cylinders. The existing law allows bottlers to procure cylinders on their own, though they have to inform NOC about it later on.