Study blames weak laws for fuelling corruption

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 23:

Due to ‘weak customs laws and policies’, corruption is rampant, states a study conducted by the experts. According to a paper presented by Banshidhar Ghimire and Dilli Prakash Ghimire of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPPD), the weakness of legislation has become a breeding ground for corruption.

They report has stated that legislation review programme needs follow up by customs reform programme. The report was unveiled at a programme ‘Customs and Commercial Reforms’ organised by the government, Department of Customs (DoC) and FNCCI-Anti Corruption Project today.

According to the study, business ethics and customs integrity should be the part of legislation reforms. At the same time, balanced between control and facilitation should be mentioned in legislation sand legislation review should be towards e-customs in order to improve performance, experts said.

Speaking on the occasion, Binod Bahadur Shrestha, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) said that customs department has yet to expedite its activities in an effective way so that anomalies prevailing in the functioning may result productive results.

Krishna Hari Baskota, director general of customs department claimed that the reform is taking place in customs and emerging as citizen-friendly. Therefore, Baskota calls that civil society, private sector and the government to anticipate reform in the customs in this competitive environment gradually.

The study conducted by CPPD’s experts stated that traders also do not submit real invoices that have increased corruption, according to observation made by government employees. Customs officials enjoy discretionary power of value determination, states the survey. It has also been found that customs officials are not ready to accept price fluctuations.

Study has also suggested making clear provision of post clearance audit (PCA) in the customs, which will help to see some reforms. Simplification of documents has been a major issue for exporters, which may ease difficulties faced by them, states the study. “More number of documents means more corruption in the customs sector. Customs are also not meeting international standards despite the market liberalisation.”