Customs revenue inflows exceed last year’s figure

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jun 7, 2016-

The country’s customs offices collected more revenue during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year than during the same period last year pointing to a rebound in the economy since the Indian blockade last September.

Imports surged following the end of the trade embargo in February, boosting revenue inflows as customs duty payments soared, Finance Ministry officials said.

According to the Department of Customs (DoC), revenue collection as of mid-May reached Rs144.95 billion, up 0.7 percent year-on-year. “We have been making the utmost efforts to meet the revenue target set for us,” said Sishir Dhungana, director general of the DoC. 

The department has been given a revenue target of Rs205 billion for this fiscal year.  “I don’t say whether the target will be met, but our efforts are concentrated on meeting it,” said Dhungana. 

The customs administration has been going all out to increase revenue inflows by clearing the backlog of cases related to tax payment, intensifying surveillance at the border to control smuggling, recovering unpaid bank guarantees and buying undervalued goods and selling them at the prevailing market prices. 

“Increased imports after the end of the blockade have also greatly contributed to the rise in revenue,” said Dhungana.

Even though revenue collection has surged, imports are still behind last year’s figure. Nepal imported goods worth Rs599.38 billion during the first 10 months this year, well below last year’s total of Rs623.68 billion. 

The drop in the value of imports has been attributed mainly to a decrease in oil imports. While the overall decline in imports stood at Rs24 billion, oil imports shrank by a whopping Rs42 billion, according to the data of the DoC. Import duty is the main source of revenue for the government. The government has planned to collect revenue totalling Rs475 billion this fiscal year. Finance Ministry officials, who had initially expressed disappointment at the pace of revenue inflows, are buoyant as collection has soared.

“Revenue collection during the one-month period mid-April to mid-May totalled Rs60 billion against the target of Rs34 billion,” said Laxman Aryal, joint secretary at the Finance Ministry. The ministry expects to collect a total of Rs467 billion this year.

Encouraged by the rise in revenue during the final months of the fiscal year, the government has jacked up its collection target for the next fiscal year by almost Rs100 billion. The revenue collection target for the next fiscal year has been fixed at Rs565 billion. 

“The chances of increased revenue collection next year are much higher as we are close to fulfilling this year’s target despite a devastating earthquake and prolonged blockade,” said Govinda Nepal, chief economic advisor to the Finance Ministry.

Published: 07-06-2016 09:22

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