Government revises tariff rates on goodsFinance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that the government has revised the tariff rates on a number of goods in a bid to safeguard domestic production and promote exports that is expected to reduce the widening trade deficit.
Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that the government has revised the tariff rates on a number of goods in a bid to safeguard domestic production and promote exports that is expected to reduce the widening trade deficit.
Minister Khatiwada also said that the government has revised the tariffs on medicines, cement, sugar and papers.
“As Nepal’s trade deficit has been ballooning, the move is expected to reduce imports of these products. It will also encourage domestic production,” said Khatiwada addressing the 19th annual general meeting of the Society of Economic Journalists here on Wednesday.
The country’s trade deficit widened 26.7 percent in fiscal 2017-18 to Rs1.16 trillion billion due to slow growth in export earnings and a steep jump in the import bill.
As per the macroeconomic report of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), merchandised exports in the last fiscal year grew a mere 11.1 percent to Rs81.19 billion while the import bill surged 25.5 percent to Rs1.24 trillion.
The government has equally prioritised the export promotion to reduce the ballooning imports bill. The government has facilitated Nepali traders to import raw materials, equipments, consultancy services and construction materials to boost exports, he said.
In addition, the government has given priority to fiscal discipline. “We have revised many laws related to the utilisation of the country’s financial resources,” he said. “We have initiated addressing the issues of double taxation and anomalies related to taxation prevailing in the domestic market,” he said.
Refuting that the government has undermined the role of private sectors, Khatiwada assured that the government has accorded priority to facilitate the private sector. He also underlined the vital role of private sector in achieving 8 percent of economic growth targeted for this fiscal year.
“We have reformed many policies. However, it’s too early to expect the returns,” he said, adding that it has been just six weeks that the government had implemented its financial plan.
Apart from revising the existing laws, the government has also initiated the process for restructuring the Investment Board of Nepal to attract investment.
According to Khatiwada, they will be tabling the draft of the new investment act at the Cabinet within a few days. He also claimed that the implementation of new Labour Act and minimum wage rate has helped develop healthy relationship among the employers and employees.
Facilitating public-private-partnership in development activities, exploring new tax bases to expand revenue sources, promotion of self regulated markets, enforcing good governance and coordination among the policy makers, enforcement agency and judiciary bodies to ensure prompt decision making for investors will be among the government priority, Khatiwada said.