Fee hikes suggested to boost non-tax revenues

- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu

Jun 13, 2014-

Amid decreasing contribution of non-tax revenue to the government’s overall revenue collection, a taskforce formed to recommend reforms in the sector has suggested increasing royalty and fees.

Non-tax revenues include fees, royalties, dividends, income from renting out government properties and fees for administrative services, among others.

The contribution of non-tax revenue to the overall collection was 22.08 percent in fiscal year 1997-98, but the figure came down to 13.38 percent in 2012-13.

The taskforce’s report submitted to the government recently has suggested hiking fees the government charges to vehicle owners and drivers. It suggested increasing the fee for vehicle test to Rs 500 from the existing Rs 50.

The report has also suggested Rs 1,000 penalty for minor violation of traffic rule and Rs 2,000 for major violations.

The existing fine ranges for Rs 200 to Rs 2,000 based on the degree and types of offences. The report says it suggested only two types of penalties to stop the trend of arbitrary charging.

The taskforce has suggested hiking the fee for acquiring a new vehicle blue book to Rs 500 from Rs 100, and increasing the pollution test fee to Rs 500 from Rs 35. It has also suggested charging a minimum Rs 1,000 for taking approval to operate a leased vehicle. Besides charging higher fees, the report has also sought reforms in the transport office by maintaining scientific documentation.

Coordinator of the taskforce Surendramani Tripathi said they suggested hiking the fees charged to vehicle owners considering most vehicle owners are capable of paying the higher charges.

The report also suggested hiking royalty and license fees for both survey, and production, transmission and distribution.

It has recommended charging royalty to hydropower projects below 1MW capacity. The existing Electricity Regulation has not made any provision of such royalty. “Such a suggestion was made considering the government should get minimum fee for delivering services,” said Tripathi.

The report has also suggested increasing the fees for shooting movies in areas where government approval is needed.

It has asked to hike the rate for distribution of TV cable line signals to Rs 25,000 from Rs 5000.  “The recommendation was made as cable TV providers are making huge earnings,” he said.

In development contracts, the report has recommended increasing the registration and renewal fees for ‘A’ class contractors. Currently, bidders, irrespective of their class, have to pay the same amount to get bid documents. The report has also suggested charging the fees based on the estimated bid amount. “Currently, contractors are not paying even the cost involved in preparing bid documents and the government should be able to recover at least that cost,” said Tripathi.

In the health sector, the report has suggested charging Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 per bed for issuing approval and licence renewal to private sector hospitals. Department of Drug Administration (DDA) has been advised to increase the

medicine registration fee, medicine export/import fee and GMP audit fee.

The taskforce has also recommended charging registration and renewal fees from hotels based on their category. Currently, the charge is same for all hotels. The report has also suggested hiking the fee for mountaineering and trekking and for registering a tourism company.

The report has suggested the Home Ministry to hike the license and renewal fees for gun ownership. It has also suggested increasing the fee for issuing citisenship certificates and marriage certificates.

In the mining sector, the Department of Mines and Geology has been recommended to increase various fees it charges to companies. The report has also recommended fixing royalty for mine-related products at 5 percent of the market price.

The report says that the Income Tax Act’s provision of imposing capital gain tax on real estate transaction worth above Rs 3 million has encouraged individuals to hide the actual transaction amount.

It says the current provision has also increased the tendency among people to plot lands to avoid capital gain tax, contributing to land fragmentation. “So, it is necessary to rethink on the minimum limit set,” the report states.

Published: 14-06-2014 09:25

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