Strikes hit customs revenue collection

- SHANKAR ACHARYA , PARSA

Mar 9, 2017-Two customs offices in Birgunj have lost a staggering amount of revenue due to a general strike since Tuesday. 

The Birgunj Customs Office lost an estimated Rs100 million in revenue on Tuesday. The office generally collects Rs340 million in daily revenues, but the collection stood at just Rs243 million on Tuesday. 

The collection figures are even worse at Sirsiya Dry Port. On Tuesday, the dry port collected Rs6.8 million from normal daily collection of Rs65 million.

Mohan Raj Bhatta, information officer of Birgunj Customs Office, said the collection was at Rs349 million on Monday, a day before the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of seven Madhes-based parties, enforced a general strike in Tarai districts.  “Based on the Monday’s collection, the office lost revenue worth Rs100 million on Tuesday,” he said. The customs office’s collection was also affected on Wednesday. It has been given a target to collect Rs9.07 billion for the period between mid-February  and mid-March. And as of Tuesday, it has met 75 percent of the target.

“We face a challenge to collect the remaining 25 percent of the revenue target within five days,” said Bhatta, adding the target can be achieved if imports of fuel and vehicles jump. 

The customs had lost revenue amounting to Rs45 billion due to six-month long Tarai unrest in 2015.  

Meanwhile, Surya Sedai, chief of the Sirsiya Dry Port, echoed Bhatta. The dry port has been given a target to collect Rs1.91 billion for mid-February to mid-March. “As of Tuesday, we have collected Rs1.52 billion,” he said. “Collecting Rs380 million in five days is challenging.”

Sedai said as of Tuesday they have met 79 percent of the collection target and could hit the target if the strikes end. The annual revenue collection target of the dry port is Rs12.13 billion. As of Tuesday, it has collected Rs11.20 billion. 

Meanwhile, cadres of the agitating Morcha clashed with businessmen at Ghantaghar Chowk in Birgunj on Wednesday. The businessmen retaliated against the Morcha cadres after the latter assaulted a trader at Mina Bazaar while enforcing the shutdown. 

Vehicles stayed off the road, educational institutions, financial institutions and industries remained closed in Birgunj on Wednesday.

Published: 09-03-2017 09:50

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