April 19, 2018 06:00 AM NPT
By: Bira Gadal
BAITADI, April 19: Mahakali Customs Office, which had been surpassing revenue collection target with ease in the past years, is struggling to meet revenue target set by the government in the current fiscal year.
Officials say that the chances of the office mobilizing revenue as per the target appear slim.
In FY2015/16 the customs office had collected Rs 14.4 million against the target of Rs 8.6 million. In FY2016/17, it mobilized Rs 9.1 million compared to the target of Rs 9 million, a data of the Jhulaghat-based customs office shows.
The government has given the customs office Rs 12 million target for FY2017/18. However, with only three months remaining in the current fiscal year, the office has only mobilized around Rs 5 million so far. Going by the data, it is highly unlikely for the office to meet the revenue target.
Improved road connectivity in far-western region is one of the reasons behind decline in revenue collection in recent years, according to officials of Mahakali Customs Office. “Import of goods from India via the customs office is on the decline these days. And this has affected collection of customs duty,” Dilli Ram Subedi, chief customs officer at the Mahakali Customs Office, told Republica. “If collection does not improve significantly in the remaining three months, we will not be able to meet the target,” he added.
Easy availability of cement in the county has also affected revenue collection at Mahakali Customs Office. “A major chunk of our venue would come from cement imports. Now, Nepali cement is easily available in the market. This has affected customs duty mobilization,” Subedi added.
However, locals do not buy the argument. They say that revenue collection is taking a dip due to increasing smuggling of goods from India.
Products like footwear, cement and apparels, among others, enter Nepal from India via the Jhulaghat entry point of Baitadi district and Dharchula of Darchula, according to the customs office.