KATHMANDU: The central bank has asked travel agencies‚ tour operators and all the players in the service industry to report their foreign currency earnings regularly on monthly basis.
The Nepal Rastra Bank decree comes in the wake of growing suspicion that they were
snubbing their binding duty of regularly reporting their foreign currency earnings to the central bank.
According to the existing rule‚ the agencies have to deposit foreign currency in their account within 24 hours of receiving it. But the central bank data of service sector income does not match with the tourist arrivals figure giving enough room to doubt that the service sector was omitting foreign currency reporting. Tourism entrepreneurs too don’t rule out the possibility.
“Some agencies might not be abiding by the rule‚” said Uttam Raj Karki‚ President of Society of Travel and Tour Operators-Nepal. “Some big agencies that do business in big volumes and earn foreign currency in spades must be reporting regularly but the possibility is that the small ones could have reported late or taken advantage. Nonetheless‚ sooner or later they have to report‚” said Karki.
The central bank has raised serious concern about low foreign currency earnings in the wake of rising tourist arrivals.
Even when the agencies report their earnings‚ the central bank has been forced to ask them to abide by the rule‚ as it has noticed huge mismatch in tourist arrivals figure and earnings.
Had the tourist arrivals figure shown in service sector income‚ the current account would have been in surplus to ease Balance of Payment deficit.
The current account has registered a deficit of Rs 2.17 billion in the first three months of
the current fiscal hurting the overall BoP to a deficit by Rs 6.88 billion.
“At a time when Nepali economy is suffering from huge informalisation‚ we are serious about bringing the service sector income through formal channel‚” said central bank governor Dr Yubraj Khatiwada.
The country has witnessed a steady growth of tourist arrivals since the beginning of 2010.
Statistics show‚ till November‚ Nepal received 412‚446 tourists by air‚ according to Nepal Tourism Board.