Kathmandu, January 25
Private sector leaders have urged the government to first bring down the customs tariff on intermediate goods and raw materials to promote industrial environment in the country.
Speaking at a programme organised jointly by Society of Economic Journalists-Nepal and Department of Customs (DoC) titled ‘Secured Business Environment for Economic Growth’, Shekhar Golchha, senior vice-president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), urged the DoC to adopt customs evaluation methods being practised worldwide instead of being based on reference book published by the DoC.
Golchha said that the policies related to customs are responsible for developing the country as ‘trade economy’. “While profit of traders is surging, industrialists
are struggling in every step to run their industries,” he said. Golchha highlighted that the government needs to bring reforms in all areas to protect investment and investors’ interest for industrialisation in the country.
Golchha also urged the DoC to bring eight-digit harmonised code into effect like in India.
Presenting a paper, senior economist Keshab Acharya said that a manufacturer needs to invest around Rs 76 for value addition of Rs 100 whereas a trader can generate equal money by investing just Rs 12. Acharya recommended physical protection, like in mode of production (such as land, labour, physical facilities). He also spoke about political protection like putting an end to donation drive, extortion and strikes, and also stressed on legal protection (consistency of policy, lack of procedure hassles and prudent legal regime) to create secured business environment.
In the programme, Vice Presidents of Confederation of Nepalese Industries, and Nepal Chamber of Commerce — Krishna Adhikari and Kamalesh Kumar Agrawal — opined that the government is promoting import for generating revenue without taking care of the economy.
Also speaking in the programme, Shrikrishna Nepal, deputy director general of DoC, urged the traders to submit genuine invoice and declare the actual value and volume of goods to be rid of so-called ‘hassles’ that private sector often faces. “We want to facilitate trade and want to shorten the procedures, but traders are not genuine themselves and if we do not cross-check, it will distort the market and hurt the revenue because similar imported goods will be sold at different prices in the market.”
The import-export code issued by the customs since this fiscal has been an effective tool to promote authorised trade and curb under-invoicing in import and export to a large extent, as per Nepal.
Revenue Secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana also opined that DoC has to provide a level-playing field and also take care of government revenue, which is why it has developed a reference price book for the customs evaluation purpose.
“First traders have to correct themselves. If they start making payments through banking channel instead of drafts and telegraphic transfers and declare genuine invoices, mutual trust will be gained and the environment will be more conducive,” he said.
Dhungana also spoke about reform processes, reduction in document requirement and moving towards customs automation to facilitate trade.
A version of this article appears in print on January 25, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.