Tax collection at Birgunj plunges 50pcRevenue collection from the two major customs offices in Birgunj has dropped following strikes that have crippled the central Tarai region for more than a month.
Revenue collection from the two major customs offices in Birgunj has dropped following strikes that have crippled the central Tarai region for more than a month. Birgunj Customs and Sirsiya Dry Port are the two largest earning revenue collection offices in Nepal.
During the first two months of the current fiscal year, these offices missed their revenue collection targets by 50 percent. Although the Birgunj Customs Office had set a target of collecting Rs8.82 billion in revenue in the first two months, it was able to earn only Rs4.91 billion, which is 55.64 percent less than the target. Sushil Prasad Sharma, information officer of the Birgunj Customs Office, said that imports of vehicles, petroleum products and raw materials required by industry were badly affected due to the prolonged strike. “As a result, the office failed to meet its collection target.”
Vehicles and petroleum products are Nepal’s major imports and they account for nearly 50 percent of the shipments. Before the Tarai unrest, the office used to collect Rs300 million in revenue daily. Likewise, Sirsiya Dry Port missed its revenue collection target by more than 50 percent. In the first two months of the current fiscal year, the dry port collected Rs730 million against the target of Rs1.52 billion.
Devi Prasad Bhandari, chief of the Sirsiya Customs Office, said that revenue collection had been hurt as importers failed to supply their goods to the respective industries.
More than 80,000 tonnes of goods are piled up in the dry port’s yard while 500 loaded containers lie stranded as they could not be dispatched to their respective destinations, said Ram Babu Prasad, an official of Himalayan Terminal that manages the dry port.
According to him, more than 55,000 tonnes of fertilizer of Agriculture Inputs Company and Salt Trading Corporation are piled up at the dry port. Farmers are facing a shortage of fertilizers as the government has not been able to supply them due to security reason.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development said that they were unable to supply fertilizers to farmers as truck drivers and owners do not want to take risks amid the violent demonstrations.
As the authorities have not accorded priority to escorting the stranded goods, they have been piling up. On Saturday alone, 180 containers arrived at the dry port.
The private sector has been urging the leaders of the agitating political parties to resolve the disputes through dialogue stating that the protests were causing extensive damage to the business community and the country’s economy.