Salt Trading Corporation was established on Bhadra 27, 2020 B.S. mainly to supply salt all over Nepal. It was the first organization established under private-public-partnership (PPP) model. After realizing the scarcity of salt across Nepal and that the private businessmen were not willing to supply salt in the remote areas of the country, Salt Trading Corporation was established at the initiative of then King Mahendra. The King asked nine big businessmen of Nepal to come together and partner with the government to resolve the problem of scarcity of salt.
Late Laxmi Das Manandhar, former chairman of STC was among the nine traders who became founders of the STC. The government has 21.74 percent share in STC while the remaining 78.26 percent share is owned by the general public. During its inception the main objective of STC were to ensure quality of salt, to make supply of salt smooth and trouble free and to stabilize price of salt.
Ensuring supply of iodized salt
STC started supplying iodized salt since 1970s to address the public health issue. Government of India, started providing iodized salt to Nepal since 1973, which continued for 25 years till 1998. India also provided costs for re-iodization of salt imported by STC for about a decade. Till the recent past, India had also provided transportation cost for supplying salt in the remote mountainous districts of Nepal. At present Nepal government is providing transport cost to STC for supplying iodized salt in 22 districts of the remote areas. STC has been distributing salt in the remote areas at the cost of Rs. 9 per kg providing Rs. 6 subsidy per kg, informed Brajesh Jha, Division Manager at the STC.
These days STC itself manages the cost of mixing iodine with salt. STC had supplied 212,000 metric tons of iodized salt in the last fiscal year 2079 B.S. STC has been making valuable contributions in the field of public health through mixing iodine with salt and supplying them in the market.
During a survey conducted by Nepal government with the assistance of World Health Organization and UNICEF it was found that 55 percent of the population of Nepal had iodine deficiency problem. At that time 4 percent of children of Nepal were suffering from down syndrome or mental disability. Now after five decades of service provided by STC in the form of distributing iodized salt, the percentage of people with iodine deficiency has been reduced to almost zero.
Although during its inception, STC was involved mainly in supplying salt and sugar, now it has diversified its services to many other areas. At present, besides salt, STC has been supplying rice, floor, edible oil, beaten rice, lentils, spices, tea, vegetable ghee etc. Not only that STC has also played an important role in the industrialization process of Nepal by establishing various industries such as Nepal Khadya Udyog, Shanti Banaspati Ghee Udyog, Butawal Spinning Mills, Gorakhkali Rubber Industry, Sagarmatha Insurance, National Finance etc.
STC’s turn over in 2079-80 reached Rs. 8,77,44,00,000, according to Jha.