KATHMANDU, Dec 6: The government, bowing to the pressure of the private sector, has decided to scrap restrictions on import of a number of luxury items including automobiles, alcohol, mobile phone sets and two wheelers.
A cabinet meeting held on Tuesday decided to remove import restrictions on a number of luxury goods that have been in place since April. According to cabinet sources, the revised provision will come into force from December 15.
Earlier, the Ministry of Finance and Nepal Rastra Bank had advised the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) to work on this matter to ease the imports, citing that the country has regained recently after an improvement in the balance of payments. The line ministry MoICS forwarded the proposal to the cabinet meeting accordingly.
After the country started experiencing the heat of depleting foreign currency reserves, the government initially banned imports of 10 items. Later on, the restrictions were limited to six goods that include foreign liquor, smart phones worth more than 300 dollars, motorcycles above 150CC and jeeps, cars and vans, which remained in force until December 15.
Despite the stance of the government bodies not to remove restrictions completely, they fell under pressure from the private sector to lift the restrictions. Recently, a number of umbrella organizations including Nepal Automobiles Dealers’ Association, have launched protests against the government’s apathy to lift imports restriction.