Trade Agreements Need Review: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Janardan Sharma said that the international treaties and conventions to which Nepal is a party should be reviewed to know if they are in the interest of Nepal.
“There is a need to assess whether the international trade agreements and treaties that Nepal signed have been fruitful for us. Necessary steps should be taken after reviewing them,” he said after his inspection visit to the Department of Customs (DoC) on Thursday.
He directed the DoC to make the customs administration simple and pro-people. According to him, every agency under the Ministry of Finance has an important role in converting the consumption-oriented economy to production-oriented one.

Stating that recently he has been making various decisions regarding revenue discount, he said that the government facilities and discounts do not reach the farmers in Taplejung and Humla district. “People at the grassroots level should get the facilities extended by the state. But there has been a practice of facilitating the large tax-payers and creating pressure for the general people,” said FM Sharma.
He criticised the customs’ attitude towards the migrant Nepali workers who have been undergoing myriad troubles while bringing a TV set, mobile set or other gadgets. “Why are the youth who send remittance back home being troubled at the customs for a mobile set and TV set? Couldn’t we waive customs on the goods bought for the domestic purposes?” he questioned. Finance Secretary Madhu Kumar Marasini said that Nepal’s export was decreasing ever since the country joined the World Trade Organisation. He attributed the increasing trade deficit to the growing trend of importing agricultural goods.
He emphasized on utilizing the international conventions, treaties and agreements in the interest of Nepal. Marasini also directed the DoC to launch facility to enable the businesses to pay the customs duty and revenue from their homes.

Nepal Revenue Advisory Board’s Chairman Mahesh Dahal said that about Rs. 48 billion revenue and Rs. 12 billion Value Added Tax was due, Rs. 48 billion was stuck due to the delay in court decision and Rs. 15 billion revenue was in arrears.
Nepal has 27 customs offices at the southern border with India and nine at the northern border with China. However, 96 per cent goods come through eight customs offices, said Yamlal Bhusal, Director General of the DoC.
Birgung Customs Office collects 35 per cent of all revenue, Bhairahawa 25 per cent, dry ports 10 per cent, Biratnagar 9 per cent, Kailali 2 per cent and Krishnanagar 1 per cent. Customs contributes about 45 per cent to the total revenue of the government. 

Source : TRN,