Govt in no mood to unfreeze bank accounts of transport bodies
Kathmandu, May 16
The government seems to be in no mood to unfreeze bank accounts of transport bodies — transport committees and associations — any time soon.
The government had suspended the accounts a few weeks back on the charge that the transport bodies were backing the syndicate system in the public transportation industry.
Acting even stricter towards such anti-competitive practices that prevailed in the public transportation sector, a meeting of Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth, Nepal Rastra Bank’s Governor Chiranjibi Nepal and other concerned agencies on Tuesday evening decided to suspend bank accounts of all remaining transport bodies and start probing their properties.
Earlier, the Ministry of Finance had directed Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to freeze bank accounts of 245 transport bodies that were against the decision of the government to end the transport syndicate.
The meeting has also asked the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) to furnish details of all other transport bodies and submit them to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
“Hundreds of transport bodies are avoiding paying government taxes though they are earning huge amounts of money. Thus, probe into all movable and immovable properties of transport bodies is justifiable,” said an official at the DoTM, seeking anonymity.
Though registered at the District Administration Offices (DAOs) as non-profit organisations, these transport bodies have been making transactions worth billions of rupees every year. However, they do not fall under income tax net of the government.
As the government has already announced it will not renew registration of such transport bodies, making it mandatory for them to register as companies, the end of the transport syndicate is expected to bring billions of rupees under the tax net.
DoTM officials informed that the bank accounts of transport bodies might be unfrozen after the government’s probe into their property is completed.
Meanwhile, MoF officials have already clarified that bank accounts of transport bodies will be unfrozen only after a joint recommendation for the same from the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Ministry of Home Affairs, which is unlikely in the near future.
However, Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs, insisted that the government should unfreeze bank accounts of all transport bodies as they have already agreed to support the government’s move to end transportation syndicate.