KATHMANDU, July 21: The government has become positive toward the demands of the private sector to defer full-fledged implementation of the online-based vehicle and consignment tracking system (VCTS).
Following a meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Friday, private sector leaders said they have become optimistic that the government will address their demands on Sunday.
“We have raised our concerns with the prime minister about the obstacles in full-fledged enforcement of the VCTS, along with a couple of other issues,” Bhawani Rana, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), who led the private sector delegation, told Republica.
“The prime minister was positive on our demand to give some time for full-fledged implementation of the VCTS. We will discuss with the finance minister again on Sunday and find a way out,” said Rana.
The private sector has been requesting phase-wise implementation of the tracking system, stating that it was not feasible for them to abide by the new requirements all at once.
Under the new system, the details of any container or truck carrying commodities for the purpose of wholesale trade must be registered in the online-based tracking system before transportation begins. The online-based tracking system is aimed at controlling revenue leakage through smuggling and minimizing malpractices in the transportation of domestic products.
The system, which will also be linked with the customs, will track all parties involved in business activities, ranging from importers to consumers, according to authorities. Department of Revenue Investigation, importers, and entrepreneurs will be able to get real-time update about the movement of their cargo and consignment.
“We have proposed the government to first implement it only for big industries or suppliers and on imported goods. Then about six months later, it can be extended to cover all other transportations,” said Rana.
She said that it was not feasible to comply with the new requirements immediately due to unreliable internet connection and lack of education among transportation workers to make entry on the website.
Transporters have stopped providing transportation services to protest against the government’s requirement for the entry of trucks and containers in the online tracking system as well as the new provision to bring them under the net of value-added tax.
Due to the halt of the transportation services, thousands of containers and cargoes have piled up along the major custom points across the country.
Even industrial units that have churned out their products have not been able to dispatch their products in the market due to the halt of transportation services.
“We are not totally opposed to the idea of the VCTS. However, that should not be made mandatory immediately as we lack infrastructure needed for that,” said Lokraj Pokhrel, senior vice chairman of Federation of Truck Transport Entrepreneurs. “There are many remote places where there is no internet access. How can we make entry in the website after loading the truck or container?” asked Pokhrel.