Kathmandu, February 26
Customs offices have beaten the revenue collection target set for the seventh month of the current fiscal year, as flow of goods from the Indian side started normalising following lifting of over four-month-long blockade.
Customs offices located at different parts of the country had set revenue collection target of Rs 16.67 billion for the month of Magh (January 15 to February 12). But these offices collected Rs 17.37 billion in revenue in the one-month period, shows the latest statistics of the Department of Customs (DoC).
“We were able to beat the revenue collection target after the customs office at Birgunj resumed operation,” DoC Director General Sishir Kumar Dhungana told The Himalayan Times.
Birgunj Customs Office, which contributes to almost 50 per cent of the total customs revenue collection, had virtually remained closed since the fourth week of September after Madhesi parties created obstruction in the border point to press for their demands. This had triggered severe shortage of various commodities in Kathmandu Valley, as Birgunj is the major gateway for imported goods destined for the Capital.
The Madhesi parties officially lifted the border blockade on February 8 — although goods had started entering from the border point from February 6.
From the period when goods started flowing into the country via Birgunj till the end of the month of Magh on February 12, Birgunj Customs Office collected Rs 866.90 million in revenue. This amount, however, is only 10.44 per cent of the
revenue collection target of Rs 8.30 billion fixed for the office.
“Since the protests have now ended, we are hopeful that the customs office will now start meeting its revenue collection target,” said Dhungana.
Revenue collection at customs offices is crucial for the country as it contributes to over 50 per cent of the total government income. Also, a significant chunk of the value added tax and excise duties are collected from goods imported from abroad.
During the one-month period, customs offices generated Rs 7.59 billion in customs duties, as against the target of Rs 6.75 billion, show the DoC data. These customs offices also collected Rs 7.16 billion in value added tax, as against the target of Rs 7.51 billion. Another Rs 2.62 billion was collected from excise duties levied on imported goods, as against the target of Rs 2.42 billion.
With generation of this income, total revenue collection of customs offices stood at Rs 80.56 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year. This amount, however, falls short of total customs revenue collection target of Rs 110.21 billion set for the period.
“With the opening of Birgunj customs point and normalisation of supply situation, we hope we will be able to make up the shortfall. We are also hopeful about meeting the annual revenue collection target,” Dhungana said.
A version of this article appears in print on February 27, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.