Kathmandu, January 9
Revenue collection from various customs points hit Rs 580 million on Wednesday this week.
It was the highest single day collection after the border blockade started from the third week of September.
The revenue collected on Wednesday compares with collection figures during normal times, said Damodar Regmi, deputy director general of the Department of Customs.
The DoC said per day revenue collection has exceeded Rs 500 million since mid-December, even though Birgunj, the major border point remained closed.
Before the border blockade was imposed, the total revenue collected from all customs points averaged around Rs 600 million a day.
Birgunj used to be the major revenue contributor, but at present, the contributions from Bhairahawa and Biratnagar have gone up significantly after the flow of vehicles through these border points started to increase.
“The flow of vehicles has increased at all the check points, except Birgunj,” said Regmi.
Apart from Bhairahawa and Biratnagar, the flow of vehicles carrying daily essentials — including petroleum products and industrial raw materials — has increased at other points such as Nepalgunj and Kakarbhitta. The same is the case with Krishnanagar (Kapilvastu) and Dhangadi (Kailali), from where only a limited number of vehicles were allowed to enter till November.
After the border blockade, the highest number of vehicles — 1,545 — entered Nepal from India via various check points on Wednesday. The number of vehicles coming to Nepal fell slightly on Thursday, at 1,265.
Since mid-December, the number of vehicles entering Nepal through various check points has exceeded 1,000 per day, according to DoC.
DoC said rise in the number of vehicles from India can be attributed to customs officials in India simplifying the customs clearance procedure for vehicles that have been stranded at the border points for long. Also, traders and freight forwarders started to re-route vehicles after the Birgunj checkpoint remained blocked by agitating parties.
“There has been significant increase in the number of fuel tankers entering via Dhangadi,” informed Hari Pandey, chief of Dhangadi Customs.
Earlier a large number of fuel tankers used to enter via Birgunj because Indian Oil Corporation’s Raxaul depot used to supply over 60 per cent of the country’s fuel needs. In recent times, IOC has started supplying more fuel from Barauni, Betalpur and Gonda depots. However, Nepal Oil Corporation officials say though this alternative has eased the supply situation, it’s not a long-term solution nor an alternative to Raxaul.
Even as revenue collection goes up, DoC has already lost revenue to the tune of about Rs 32 billion in the first five months of this fiscal. The latest data from Trade and Export Promotion Centre reveals that overall trade squeezed by Rs 127.83 billion in the same period.
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 set target of Rs 78.23 billion.
The DoC collects customs tariff, value added tax (VAT), excise and other taxes at the border points.
DoC has said single day revenue collection had dropped to as low as Rs 200,000 immediately after the border blockade.
Even as the situation gradually improves, supply from major routes, which were peaceful, was also erratic till mid-November.
A version of this article appears in print on January 10, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.