Lockdown hits revenue collection at Birgunj Integrated Check PostCollection reached 35.61 percent of the total revenue intake targeted for the period March 14 to April 11.
The first three weeks of the lockdown saw revenue collection at Birgunj Integrated Check Post go into a steep dive as commerce passing through the country's busiest customs slowed to a trickle.
Sirsiya Dry Port fared a little better, but revenue collection here fell way short of the target.
According to Birgunj Integrated Check Post, collection amounted to 35.61 percent of the total revenue intake targeted for the period March 14 to April 11. The customs office collected Rs5.36 billion compared to its goal of Rs15.7 billion.
The drop in revenue collection at both customs offices means the target set for the entire fiscal year has slipped further out of reach.
The annual revenue collection target for the customs office is Rs140.890 billion. It had collected Rs100.440 billion as of mid-April which is only 71.31 percent of the goal.
Birgunj Integrated Check Post is a major revenue source for the government while Sirsiya Dry Port is counted among the five outstanding customs in the country.
Bimal Sah, information officer at Birgunj customs, said that the lockdown which started on March 24 prevented them from collecting as much revenue as expected.
“We were collecting revenue in a satisfactory manner as trade was going well. If the lockdown had not been extended, collecting Rs40 billion in revenue in three months was no challenge for us,” he said. But as the lockdown got extended till the end of April, it can be a problem, he added.
Imports through Birgunj Integrated Check Post was not halted during the lockdown. Liquefied petroleum gas and daily food items are being imported from India. But shipments have shrunk to only around 30 percent compared to normal times.
Sah said 150-175 cargo trucks carrying cooking gas and other goods were arriving from India daily.
Sirsiya Dry Port is also feeling the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on its revenue inflows. The dry port was able to achieve only 64.47 percent of the total revenue target during the period March 14 to April 11. It collected revenue amounting to Rs2.3 billion against the target of Rs3.16 billion.
According to Jagdish Purbe, information officer at the dry port customs, they were able to collect Rs28.7 billion compared to its target of Rs41.88 billion for the current fiscal year
Imports of goods from India and third countries are continuing, but the dry port has not been able to operate like before the lockdown, which has impacted revenue collection, said Purbe.
Goods have been arriving by railway from India and third countries daily, but as the importers are not able to take delivery of their cargo, they are piling up at the port. The yard at the dry port is filled with imported goods arriving daily as they are not being cleared, he said.