Thursday, May 10, 2012

NOC, NEA bleeds government coffer dry

Two financially ailing state bodies -- Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) -- have bleed the government coffer dry.
The government has failed to meet its revenue target due to the failure of the Nepal Oil Corporation and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) that has been unable to payback, finance secretary Krishnahari Baskota said, adding that the hugely indebted state oil monopoly -- that has been still asking for some Rs 2 billion for smooth supply of petroleum products -- and Nepal Electricity Authority's poor performance hit the  non-tax revenue mobilisation directly hurting the total revenue mobilisation.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also blamed that the economy has suffered from several market distortions due to fragile political environment compounded by poor law and order situation.
"Electricity theft and technical leakages -- that amounts to 29 per cent of total output -- business cartels, fuel hoarding and frequent shortages, and transport syndicates are responsible for exacerbating the already poor investment climate," according to the flagship report of the ADB that has attributed snail-paced reform of state oil monopoly to the chronic fuel shortages.
The government's populist decision and un-transparent state oil monopoly that distributes freebees to leaders put the Nepal Oil Corporation on a death bed.
Though, the government is planning to recruit a professional managing director, the problem could not be sorted out without complete deregulation of oil prices and legal provision to allow private sector into the petroleum business with a well directed social protection that could make the Nepal Oil Corporation cover its own operating costs and make a reasonable return on the government's invested capital, it added.
"These two institutions were supposed to pay the government some Rs 10 billion apart from the interest," said Baskota. "Had these institutions been able to pay back the government, the government would have exceeded its revenue mobilisation target for the current fiscal year," he added.
The Finance Ministry had targetted to mobilise Rs 247.60 revenue, an increase of over 20 per cent compared to the last fiscal year but it has been able to mobilise Rs 172.90 billion by the end of Chaitra (mid-April) that is however, only 18.1 per cent increment compared to the same period of the last fiscal year. "There is still Rs 2.22 billion shortfall to the target of nine months of the current fiscal year," according to the Baskota, who attributed the shortfall largely to Nepal Oil Corporation and Nepal Electricity Authority.
Of the total revenue target, non tax revenue target for the current fiscal year stands at Rs 36.94 billion and by the end of nine months, the government has been able to mobilise Rs 25.25 billion, some Rs 2 billion shortfall from its target of Rs 27.25 billion for the month ending Chaitra.


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