KATHMANDU, June 9: Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada has said that the budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2020/21 has not changed the customs duty and any other tax rates for the import of electric vehicles (EVs) to be used for public transport.
Responding to the queries raised by the parliamentarians on Appropriation Bill 2077 in the House of Representatives meeting on Tuesday, he said that the government was promoting public transport with EVs and the customs rate for such vehicles has been fixed at just one percent. He was of the argument that the tax rates for the EVs to be used for private purpose were slightly changed. Saying that a bold decision was taken during India’s 2015 blockade against Nepal to import the EVs at 10 percent customs duty, the finance minister reaffirmed that the import of EVs for the purpose of public use is just one percent.
On the occasion, he said that there will be a massive change in the public transportation sector if we move ahead by finalising the Public Transport Authority Bill, which is under consideration in the House. Regarding the tax reduction on chocolates, Minister Khatiwada argued that the decision was not taken by looking at a few firms adding that 124 companies import chocolates in the country. Dr Khatiwada said that the decision to limit the customs rate on chocolates to 30 per cent was not influenced by anyone. Likewise, he said that though the size of the budget has been reduced by four percent due to the situation caused by COVID-19, the government should also bear the regular burden. Despite some reduction in budget on the title of physical construction, the government has allocated budget with the motives to complete the uncompleted projects.
Furthermore, the finance minister said that emphasis has been laid on maintaining balance in education, health care and agriculture as well as in relief and rehabilitation packages to reduce the impacts of COVID-19. Despite enlarging the ambit of revenue, the revenue collection could not increase in the current fiscal year, he said, adding that a high-digit economic growth was needed for a higher revenue collection.
On Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Minister Khatiwada said that he had nothing to say on the issue as it is under-consideration in parliament. On the occasion, the finance minister said that the government will disseminate information in a transparent way regarding the expenses made by the government for the control of coronavirus.
Dissatisfied with Dr Khatiwada’s response, lawmakers Dr Minendra Rijal, Pradip Yadav and Prem Suwal asked him additional questions during the House meeting.