HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Janakpur Cigarette Factory (JCF) — a public enterprise — has asked the government for a grant of Rs 606.4 million to restart operations.
A delegation of the factory officials and political leaders of Dhanusha district discussed about reopening the factory with finance minister Barshaman Pun, at the ministry today.
“We requested for Rs 606.4 million from the government to reopen the factory,” said acting general manager of the company Ramswarathi Yadav. “If the government wants to operate it for the long term, it should grant at least Rs 1.99 billion,” he said, adding that the factory needs Rs 120 million to purchase raw materials, Rs 25 million for the maintenance of machines, Rs 77.4 million to pay tobacco farmers, Rs 30 million to pay taxes, Rs 130 to pay salaries to employees, and Rs 200 million for provident fund of employees. “Machines are in a dilapidated state so the company needs to start soon,” he added. Maoist leader of Dhanusha district Lakshman Mandal said that the government should provide funds to the factory as the management, workers and political parties of the district are in favour of operations.
“The government must operate the factory,” he said adding that JCF is the lifeline of the district. Finance minister Barshaman Pun urged the delegation to wait for the decision of the Public Enterprises (PEs) Board on the issue. “Reopening PEs will be based on the suggestion of the board,” he said, “The board has developed a policy to operate PEs.”
Minister Pun rejected the demand for Rs 606.4 million. “The government is not in a position to provide such a huge amount to JCF now. We just have Rs 80 million for PEs in the current fiscal year.” According to him, the government is exploring alternatives – in ways that it can invest, in private public sector partnership and aid from Russia to restart operations of the cigarette factory. Russia had constructed the factory in 2021 BS.
Global gold demand up
KATHMANDU: Global demand for gold in 2011 rose to 4,067.1 tonnes worth an estimated $ 205.5 billion — the first time that global demand has exceeded $ 200 billion and the highest tonnage level since 1997, according to the annual report of World Gold Council.
The main driver of the increase was the investment sector where annual demand was 1,640.7 tonnes, up by five per cent, on the previous record set in 2010 and with a value of $ 82.9 billion. The pre-eminent markets for investment demand in 2011 were India, China and Europe.
Central banks continued the trend established in 2010 of being net buyers of gold. “From the figures of 2011, we can see that there were two main factors driving the results: Asian growth and optimism on one hand, and western desire to protect assets against uncertainty on the other,” MD of Investment Marcus Grubb has been quoted as saying. “Looking particularly at Asia, there was a major demand from China.”