Revenue collection at Birgunj Customs hit due to protestsRevenue collection at Birgunj Customs dropped to almost half of the targeted amount with the disruption in cargo movement following protests by customs agents last week.
Revenue collection at Birgunj Customs dropped to almost half of the targeted amount with the disruption in cargo movement following protests by customs agents last week.
The Birgunj Customs was given a target of Rs13.72 billion for the mid-January to mid-February period, however, only Rs7.58 billion has been collected as of now with only a few days left in the period, according to Manish Mahato, information officer at the customs office. He said the third country consignments plunged by a notable amount due to the disruption.
After the government gained transshipment privilege at the Kolkata Port in India and made preparations to implement the electronic cargo tracking system in Nepal bound cargos at the port, dissatisfied customs agents along with transporters disrupted the cargo movement for five days. As a result, over 600 containers became stranded over the period.
Mahato said the workload at the Birgunj Integrated Check Post decreased significantly following the incident. “In addition, banks being reluctant to issue loans with the shortfall in loanable fund and reduction in issuing auto loan by the banks also affected the import of vehicles, further affecting revenue collection.”
Umesh Shrestha, chief of the customs office at the Birgunj Dry Port, said the revenue collection at the customs point dropped to a mere Rs30-60 million daily from an average of Rs100 million. As of now, the office has collected only Rs2.05 billion against the targeted revenue collection of Rs2.88 billion for this month. “With a few days left till the month expires, it seems almost impossible to meet the revenue target,” he said. Following the caution notice from Nepal’s Consul General at Kolkata and the Indian authority, customs agents called off the protest which had been in effect since Monday. However, more than 400 containers are still waiting to get onto railway rakes.
Nepal has been receiving transshipment privileges and using electronic cargo tracking at Vishakhapatnam port since August, and this was extended to Haldiya and Kolkata ports with the consent of Indian authorities. Electronic tracking uses the Global Positioning System, a satellite-based radio navigation system, and allows the shipper to keep track of consignments. The government is preparing to enforce the system at the conventional sea port from February 15.
In June 2017, India and Nepal signed a memorandum of intent to pilot the tracking system to ease transit of cargo by road and rail from Kolkata to four major customs points in Nepal: Birgunj via Raxaul, Birgunj Inland Container Depot via Raxaul, Biratnagar via Jogbani, and Bhairahawa via Sunauli.