Prices of essentials jump on taxes, import costs

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Prices of essentials jump on taxes, import costs

Aug 25, 2014-

Prices of essential commodities like rice and pulses have jumped up to 15 percent over the past one month due to a hike in the agriculture development service tax and higher prices in India, said traders. With major festivals like Dashain and Tihar arriving, further price increases due to swelling demand are feared.

Jeera Masino rice now costs Rs 1,400 per 25 kg sack retail against Rs 1,300 a month ago. Mansuli rice is being sold at Rs 53 per kg compared to Rs 46 per kg previously. Indian Basmati rice presently costs Rs 115 per kg, up from Rs 110. Likewise, beaten rice has become dearer by up to Rs 15 per kg. Taichin beaten rice now costs Rs 70 per kg against Rs 55 a month ago.  

Meanwhile, pulses have become dearer by up to Rs 10 per kg. Rahar pulse has risen to Rs 140 per kg from Rs 130. Masuro and Mas pulses increased to Rs 125 and Rs 130 respectively against Rs 110 and Rs 120 per kg before.

Pabitra Bajracharya, president of the Retailers Association of Nepal, said that the government’s decision to raise the tax on imported rice affected prices in the market.

“Large amounts of rice and pulses are being imported from India and third countries, so an increase in the agriculture development service charge affected prices in the market,” he said. Bajracharya added that a price rise in India also led to higher prices in Nepal.

The government has upped the agriculture development tax on imported rice, pulses and wheat flour to 8 percent from 5 percent in a bid to protect domestic producers from highly subsidized Indian grain.

Surya Prasad Acharya, director general of the Department of Customs, said that the government had hiked the agriculture development service fee with the aim of discouraging imports and promoting the local rice industry. “I don’t think that a 3 percent hike in the agriculture development fee should affect prices in the local market much.”

According to the annual macro economic report published by Nepal Rastra Bank, rice worth Rs 12.37 billion was imported from India in the last fiscal year. Imports amounted to Rs 8.45 in the fiscal year 2012-13.

Prem Lal Maharjan, president of the National Consumer Rights Forum, said that traders might have hiked prices of essential goods to take undue benefit during the festival season when demand soars.

Published: 26-08-2014 09:43

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