Imports dip 26.5pc in H1

- Post Report, Kathmandu
During the period under review, imports decreased to Rs277.57 billion from Rs377.85 billion a year ago

Feb 6, 2016-Nepal’s imports plunged by 26.5 percent in first half of the fiscal year as four-and-a-half-month blockade took its toll, the Department of Customs (DoC) has said. As a result, customs revenues too decreased by 29.3 percent.

During the period under review, imports decreased to Rs277.57 billion from Rs377.85 billion a year ago. Petroleum products, traditionally the largest import items, saw the biggest drop in imports -- down 58.9 percent to Rs25.38 billion.

Fuel imports started to decline since mid-August after Madhes-based political parties imposed banda in the Tarai region. After Indian imposed unofficial embargo from September 22, two days after Nepal promulgated the new Constitution, the imports were curtailed massively.

During the period between mid-September and Mid-October, the imports decreased to as low as Rs1.53 billion, before improving marginally to Rs1.97 billion in the following month.The imports improved in the fifth month (Mid-November to Mid-December), with Rs4.45 billion worth of petroleum entering the country. In the sixth month, the imports amounted to with Rs5.58 billion, according to statistics from DoC and Trade and Export Promotion Centre.

The government’s revenue collection from petroleum imports also slumped

51 percent.

Besides, vehicle imports decreased by 27.7 percent to Rs17.13 billion. Imports of nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances also decreased by 33 percent to Rs16.65 billion. “The slowdown in the imports of major import items resulted in the decrease in revenue collection,” said Surya Sedai, information officer at DoC.

With cargo trucks starting to enter through Birgunj customs points from Friday, for the first time in 135 days, import activity is expected to rise further. “It will take a few more days for the situation to normalise,” said Sedai. “Normal trade through the border point is expected to help revenue collection.”

During the six-month period, the government lost Rs54 billion in revenue, including both customs and other revenues, as economic activities slumped due to the blockade.The private sector is elated by the resumption of Birgunj border point.President of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Pashupati Murarka said political parties should not resort to closing border in the days to come.


Published: 06-02-2016 09:22

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