Shankar Acharya, The Kathmandu Post, April 21, 2019
The imports of automobile through the Birgunj customs and integrated check post dropped sharply in the first nine months of the current fiscal year and its impact has been reflected on the government’s revenue collection target.
According to the customs office, automobile imports in terms of value, from the country’s major trade route in Birgunj dropped 13 percent to Rs18.73 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year. In the same period last year, automobile imports were Rs21.53 billion.
Industry insiders said that increased bank’s interest rates and restriction on auto loans may have impacted the imports.
The impact was visible in the overall revenue collection target. The customs revenue collection stood at Rs10.1 billion during the mid-March to mid-April period of the current fiscal year, against the target of Rs15.44 billion. The revenue collection target fell short by 64.82 percent in the review period, according to the customs officials.
Automobile—jeep, car, van, motorcycle and vehicle chassis—are one of the largest revenue contributors to the country’s economy.
According to the customs statistics, 7,535 units of vehicles worth Rs7.21 billion were imported in the first nine months (mid-July to mid-April) period of this fiscal year. In the same period last year, imports of jeeps, cars and vans were 8,913 units worth Rs7.10 billion. The imports of vehicles have dropped by 1,378 units in the review period.
The customs said that motorcycles imports were 87,200 units worth Rs7.42 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year. In the same period last fiscal year, motorcycle imports were 105,161 units worth Rs8.99 billion. The import of motorcycles has fallen by 17,961 units in the review period.
Similarly, the country imported 2,414 units of vehicle chassis worth Rs4.10 billion in the current fiscal year. It was 3,604 units worth Rs5.44 billion in the same period last year. The import of vehicle chassis has dropped by 1,109 units.
The country is importing jeep, car and van from India and third countries while chassis are mostly being imported from India. The revenue collected from the import of vehicle contributes a major income in Birgunj customs. With the slump in imports, the customs will not be able to collect revenue as per the target, according to customs officials.
Manish Mahato, information officer at the Birgunj Customs Office, said that imports have dropped by 30 percent alone in the mid-March to mid-April period which has affected the overall imports data.
“Increase in banks interest rates and restricting auto loans could be the major factors behind the drop in auto imports.”