Birgunj traders take to streets against tax hike

- SHANKAR ACHARYA, BHUSAN YADAV, Birgunj
Industrialists claim that the decision to hike tax rates was made hastily without getting input from them and would cause economic mayhem

Jul 30, 2018-Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Sunday took out a protest rally against the metropolis decision to hike tax rates.

The rally taken out under Birgunj chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) also submitted a memorandum to Birgunj Metropolitan City mayor Bijaya Sarawagi. FNCCI Birgunj Chairman Om Prakash Sharma informed they have given a seven-day ultimatum to the metropolis to reconsider the hike in

tax rates.

The entrepreneurs blamed the authority for raising the land valuation by up to 6 folds, just to collect exorbitant amount of taxes from the people. According to them, the tax slab on business enterprises has also been increased by up to seven fold.

Mayor Sarawagi said the tax rates were fixed in presence of the representative from the FNCCI. “Any problems can be solved through talks,” he added. “Rather than launching a street protest, the issue can be resolved via procedural reform.”

Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry has declared struggle programmes against the tax hike and price charge hike by Birgunj Metropolitan City.

During a press conference on Saturday, BCCI declared its struggle programmes. Speaking at the press conference, Om Prakash Sharma, chairman of BCCI said that the mass rally will be organised on Sunday with participation of industrialists and entrepreneurs against tax hike. The rally will be started from Ghantaghar and will round the city and end after submitting letter to Bijay Sarawogi, mayor of Birgunj, he said.

The stage wise struggle programme includes providing time to take back the tax hike decision, not paying tax and picketing and padlocking the metropolitan office, he said.

BCCI suggested expanding the tax boundary, said Sharma blaming that Sarawogi both hiked the rate and boundary of tax and created frustration among public. The mayor was supposed to fix the tax rate by observing the economic condition of people but he hiked the tax, charges and service charges on his own wish.

Sharma said that they were compelled to orgainse protest programme as people at Birgunj have different income source and not everyone will not be able to afford the hike  in taxes.

In the previous year, property, land and house tax was charged on the basis of minimum evaluation done by Land Revenue Office for tax provision. However, Birgunj Metropolitan City has fixed the property cost in its own way from this fiscal year, said Sharma.

“Though Birgunj Metropolitan Office and Land Revenue Office are government offices, there is a vast difference in the price of property cost fixed by both offices,” he said. Birgunj Metropolitan Office with the intention to take maximum tax from public has made evaluation of land by Rs600, 700 and 800 million while Land Revenue Office has made an evaluation by Rs108 million, he said. Rather being service oriented, the metropolitan has become tax focused and created trouble towards the public, economically.

Likewise, maximum tax limitation was Rs10,000 for entrepreneurs in previous fiscal years but the limitation has been fixed to Rs200,000, Sharma said. The maximum tax limitation of hotel entrepreneurs which was Rs50,000 has now been fixed to Rs125,000.

The health related service centres such as clinics and labs which were paying tax of Rs2,000 will see hikes of up to Rs50,000. He said that in the name of pollution and road improvement, the high tax has been charged on goods carrying trucks at customs entry points. Similarly, the tax has been levied in industrial production such as cement, iron rods, etc.

Similarly, the tax on useless materials has been re-started by the metropolitan which had been eliminated previously, Sharma said. “Likewise, the parking charge has also been levied from personal, public and tourists vehicles on a hourly basis.”  

Rickshaw and e-rickshaw has similar registration charge while tax in ‘thela’ also has been charged, Sharma said. According to him, hike on rent price, tax on birth, death and marriage registration has been levied which is not favorable to public.

Earlier, the local authority had even taxed diesel and petrol at 25 paisa per litre, which was later scrapped by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.

Published: 30-07-2018 08:04

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