Salt Trading Corporation was established some six decades ago on Bhadra 27, 2020 B.S. After realizing that there was scarcity of salt across Nepal and private businessmen were hesitating to supply salt to remote areas of Nepal, King Mahendra asked nine big traders involved in salt business to come together and partner with government to resolve the problem. In this way Salt Trading Corporation came into being to ensure supply of salt throughout the country with concept of public – private partnership. Laxmi Das Manandhar, the former chairman of STC was among the nine traders, who were founders of STC. It was the first organization formed in Nepal under PPP model. The government has 21.74 percent share in the STC, while the remaining 78.26 percent share is owned by the general public.
During its formation the main objectives of STC were to ensure quality of salt, to make supply of salt smooth and trouble free and to stabilize price of salt. STC started supplying iodized salt since 1970s to address the public health problem. Government of India started providing iodized salt to Nepal with subsidized price starting from 1973, which continued for 25 years till 1998. During the period Nepal used to import salt from government of India, who used to mix iodine with salt free of cost and also provided transportation cost for supplying salt in remote mountainous districts of Nepal.
Now, STC manages the costs of mixing iodine with salt on its own. At present STC imports 2 lakh 10,000 metric tons of salt from India annually. STC has made valuable contribution in the field of public health. During a survey conducted jointly by Nepal government with the help of World Health Organization and UNICEF, it was found that 55 percent population of Nepal had iodine deficiency problem. At that time 4 percent the children of Nepal were suffering from down syndrome or mental disability. Now after five decades of service provided by STC in the form of distribution of iodized salt, the percentage of people with iodine deficiency has reduced to almost zero.
Although during its establishment STC was involved mainly in supplying salt and sugar, now it has diversified its services to many other areas. Now besides salt and sugar, it has been supplying rice, floor, edible oil, beaten rice, spices, tea, vegetable ghee etc.
STC had established Nepal Khadya Udyog Ltd. in Hetauda, the first flour mill of Nepal. Prior to its establishment, Nepal used to import almost all the flour required by the people here. STC has played an important role in the industrialization of Nepal. After establishing the flour mill STC then established first Vegetable Ghee Udyog Ltd. the first vegetable ghee industry. Shanti Banaspati Ghee, the main product of the industry, was very much popular among Nepalese customers. Other industries establhed by STC are Morang Sugar Mills, Butawal Spinning Mills, Gorakhkali Rubber Industry, Sagarmatha Insurance, National Finance and STC Gas Industry. Now after the devastating earthquakes of 2015 STC has also been contributing to the society by providing earthquake proof construction technology to the Nepalese people under the banner of Future Works.
STC now has the stock of 1 lakh 78 thousand metric tons of salt, which is sufficient for nine and a half months for Nepalese people, according to Brajesh Jha, Division Manager at the STC. We guarantee smooth supply of salt throughout the year, he said.
The annual turn over of STC was Rs. 10.40 billion in the year 2077-78. STC has been regularly providing bonus to the staff and dividend to the shareholders. In the fiscal year 2077-78 STC distributed 10 percent bonus share and 0.5 percent cash dividend to its shareholders. STC has also been involved in various corporate social responsibilities besides serving the people by supplying essential goods. In this way STC has been contributing a lot to the national economy.
Even during the border blockade shortly after the country was hit by great earthquake, STC ensured smooth supply of cooking gas (LPG) to the general public. STC has been working as a market regulatory body for consumer goods. It has helped in stabilizing price of various consumer goods.