KATHMANDU: Prices of imported books are set to go up by up to 30 per cent, taking into account the imposition of 10 per cent customs duty on imported books in the budget for fiscal 2019-20 and the transport fare that will surely rise due to the value added tax that has been introduced on transportation services.
According to Likhat Prasad Pandey, president of National Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association of Nepal, the government has violated the norms of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Berne Convention by levying customs duty on imported books.
Issuing a press statement, NBPAN has expressed strong reservation against the customs duty and urged the government to withdraw the decision as it will hit the sale of imported books.
However, an official of the finance ministry said on condition of anonymity the step was taken to encourage booksellers and importers to start publishing such books in the country itself, as the government had not levied VAT or customs duty on the import of raw materials or equipment that were required to publish books in the country.
Pandey, meanwhile, said they would halt the import of books until the government removed the customs duty.
“This decision is likely to have a negative impact on the government’s campaign ‘Ghar Ghar ma Pustak, Tole Tole ma Pustakalaya’.
A version of this article appears in print on June 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.