Relief for hunkered down populace

  • Tax payment deadline extended
  • 25pc discount on electricity tariff
  • Tax rebate for house owners if they waive one-month rent

Kathmandu, March 29

The government today announced a relief package targeting those affected by the government’s move to put the country under lockdown to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

Announcing the Cabinet decisions, government Spokesperson Yubaraj Khatiwada, who also heads finance and communications and information technology ministries, said the decision was taken to make food relief available to needy households through local level governments throughout the lockdown period.

Provincial and local level governments are required to establish a designated fund through which such relief materials will be disbursed to needy households, added Khatiwada.

The government has also decided to make contributions for the month of Chaitra for those who are registered at the Social Security Fund. However, the government has asked organised sector employers, including the ones affected by the coronavirus, such as tourism, to pay salaries of workers for the month of Chaitra.

The government has also directed the Food Management and Trading Company and Salt Trading Ltd to offer 10 per cent discount on rice, lentils, sugar, oil and salt during the crisis. Nepal Telecom has also been directed to provide 25 per cent discount on internet/data services throughout the lockdown period. Private telecom firms have also been asked to manage discounts on data and internet accordingly.

The government has also decided to give 25 per cent discount on electricity tariff to customers who consume up to 150 units of electricity. No late fee will be imposed on electricity, water and telephone bill of Falgun and Chaitra if they are cleared by the end of Baisakh.

The government has also decided to provide insurance up to Rs 2.5 million to those involved in fighting the coronavirus in Nepal.

The government has requested house owners in city areas not to take one month’s rent from those staying in their homes as tenants. The government will not take rental tax on the waived rent from house owners.

The government has also taken a few customs-related decisions.

It decided to give customs waiver facility on imports of all drugs and medical equipment related to coronavirus. The government has also extended the deadline for paying taxes for Falgun and Chaitra. The value added tax and income tax payment time has been extended till May 8.

The government has also reduced import quota of gold to 10 kg per day from 20 kg. Import of vehicles worth more than $50,000 has been banned.

The government has also decided to take loans worth approximately Rs 22 billion from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund.