Overall trade squeezed by Rs 127.83 billion
The overall trade has been squeezed by Rs 127.83 billion in the first five months (mid-July to mid-December) of the current fiscal due to the border blockade by the agitating Madhes-based political parties since the third week of September.
Blockade at Nepal-India border points has adversely affected import and export of the country. Import has dropped by 36 per cent and export by 30.7 per cent as compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Consequently, import stood at Rs 206.66 billion and export at Rs 26 billion, according to data unveiled by the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), today.
Import and export to and from India — the major trading partner — dropped heavily in the review period. Total import bill from India stood at Rs 119.15 billion, a decline of 42.5 per cent as compared to the first five months of last fiscal.
Import from India sharply reduced as supply of petroleum products from India dropped since the start of the border blockade. The country imported petroleum products worth Rs 17.84 billion as compared to Rs 50.52 billion in the corresponding period last year. Petroleum products were the major import item of the country, with annual import bill of petroleum in fiscal 2014-15 amounting to a whopping Rs 112.17 billion.
Even with the drop of 36.8 per cent drop, iron and steel topped the import list with Rs 20.86 billion worth of products entering the country in the first five months of this fiscal. In the corresponding period of last fiscal, import of iron and steel stood at Rs 33.01 billion.
Likewise, export to India declined by 40 per cent to Rs 13.75 billion. The country had exported goods worth Rs 22.90 billion in the first five months of last fiscal.
The country’s import-based revenue was, thus, affected significantly. The Department of Customs (DoC), which contributes 50 per cent to the total tax revenue, was able to collect only Rs 46.47 billion in the first five months, against the target of Rs 78.23 billion. The DoC collects customs tariff, value added tax (VAT), excise and other taxes at the border points.
Import of almost all major commodities declined in the first five months, except gold. Import of gold, however, increased by 250 per cent to Rs 6.36 billion in the review period as compared to Rs 1.81 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Import of pharmaceutical products and other daily essentials was also affected due to the border blockade. As compared to the import of pharmaceutical products in the first five months of last fiscal, import of these products dropped by 21.5 per cent to Rs 6.40 billion.
Likewise, export of priority products listed under Nepal Trade Integration Strategy — lentils, noodles, medicinal herbs, handicraft (jewellery) and iron products — also dropped significantly. However, export of top export items — carpet, garment and cardamom — rose during the review period. The country exported carpets worth Rs 3.46 billion, garments worth Rs 2.61 billion and cardamom worth Rs 1.97 billion.
Export growth of cardamom stood at 97.9 per cent in the review period as compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year. Likewise, export growth of carpets and garments stood at 16.2 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively.