Money

Black pepper imports resume at Sirsiya

  • Over 100 containers loaded with pepper idled at the dry port for last two weeks
- SHANKAR ACHARYA, PARSA

Mar 20, 2018-The import of large quantity of black pepper stranded for the last two weeks at Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj has resumed from Saturday.

Containers carrying the spice remained stranded at the port with the importers reluctant to pay customs duty based on the reference price list prepared by the custom officials instead of the price mentioned in the invoice.

The imports resumed after customs officials gave clearance to the spice at the import price of $3,700 per tonne of black pepper.

Customs office cleared 232 tonnes of black pepper on Saturday, according to Dhan Bahadur Baruwal, information officer at Birgunj Customs.

“The import of black pepper has eased. The importers are gradually taking away the spice piled up at the dry port,” said Baruwal. 

More than 100 containers loaded with pepper idled at the dry port for last two weeks with the importers disagreeing with customs officials over the reference price.

Two weeks ago, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada had ordered customs officials to pay special attention to the customs valuation process to prevent revenue leakage.

The government move aimed to curb the under-invoicing rampant in the country. Under invoicing is the practice of reducing the price of goods on an invoice than the price actually paid in order to pay lesser customs duty.

Following the minister’s instructions, customs officials rigorously check the reference prices of imported goods to prevent under-invoicing and boost customs revenue collection.

According to importers, the price of black pepper and white pepper in the international markets stands at $3100 and $4000 per metric tonnes respectively, but in the custom’s database, they are priced at $7000 and $9000 respectively.

While Dabur Nepal and Chaudhary Group are the two big importers of black pepper from Birgunj customs, there are number of other small traders using the same point. Majority of the spice comes from Brazil and Vietnam. Imports of pepper via dry port have recently surged.

Although import of the pepper has resumed, the containers loaded with sugar imported from Pakistan remain stranded at the port. More than 100 containers of sugar are still at the port after the importers refused to clear at the reference price imposed by the customs office.

The dispute has also affected the revenue collection at the Birgunj customs. As per the target, the customs point was supposed to collect Rs 2.54 billion from mid-February to mid-March, but it ended up collecting Rs2.36 billion as customs duty.

Published: 20-03-2018 08:55

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