Himalayan News Service, Kathmandu, February 15, While the import of cement clinker has seen exponential growth since the reconstruction works began, the country’s import of vehicles and parts increased by a whopping 168 per cent in the first six months (mid-July to mid-January) of fiscal year 2016-17 compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal owing to the booming auto business.
The statistics of Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) of the government show that the country imported vehicles and parts worth Rs 46.9 billion in the first half of ongoing fiscal year against Rs 17.5 billion worth of vehicles and parts imported during the same period of the previous fiscal. The annual import of vehicles and parts in Nepal in fiscal 2015-16 stood at Rs 66.6 billion.
“Automobile sector and number of vehicles are certain to grow along with increasing road network in the country. Other factors like increasing purchasing capacity of people, lack of reliable means of mass transportation in the country and easy availability of auto loans have been contributing to the growth of automobile sector in Nepal,” Tok Raj Pandey, spokesperson for the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), said. However, Pandey also said that major setbacks like earthquake and the border blockade had slightly impacted vehicle import in the last fiscal.
Meanwhile, auto dealers have said they have been doing brisk business this fiscal compared to the previous years. They too have attributed the growth in domestic automobile market to opening of new routes across the country, exchange facilities offered by dealers and easy financing, among other factors.
“Besides aforementioned factors, automobiles have become a necessity in the country due to lack of effective public transportation system. This has been contributing to substantial growth of auto business,” Anjan Shrestha, president of Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA), said.
As per traders, automobile market in Nepal is growing at an annual rate of 30 per cent.
Automobile dealers, however, said that the current situation of ‘credit crunch’ and government’s perspective towards automobile industry will certainly have a negative impact on Nepal’s automobile sector.
“The government takes the automobile industry as an unproductive sector because of which financial institutions have lately become reluctant to invest in the sector. Unless this perspective is changed, the automobile industry will suffer, which in turn will also hit government earnings as the sector is one of the major contributors to state coffers,” Saurabh Jyoti, former president of NADA, said.