Single employee manning customs office

Published On: October 24, 2016 12:40 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

TIKAPUR, Oct 24: A trader recently brought 40 kilogram of chili from Indian border market of Tikuniya.

The tempo carrying chilies stopped near Sati Small Customs Office, Khakraula, and the trader paid tax for 10 kg of chili only. Nobody bothered to see if the tempo was carrying other imported goods as the customs office has only one staffer at present.

Though the office has four employees - one non-gazetted first class officer, three office assistants, including one hired on contract basis, only one assistant is manning the office. 

The assistant, Hiralal Pandey, said he is alone at the office at present as the office chief, Ramji Dahal, has not returned from Dashain holiday. 

As the culvert over a rivulet between the office and the road is damaged, vehicles carrying imported goods are parked around 400 meters away from the office. This means that the office has been collecting whatever tax the importer pays. It does not have staffers to verify import data furnished by the importers. The office is not in a position to do anything if importers choose to evade tax.

The construction of bridge over Mohana River has increased trading activities in Tikuniya. Many Nepalis reach the Indian market to purchase wide variety of products. Customs officials say there were losing hundreds of thousands of rupees in revenue every day.

 Though Tikapur Chamber of Commerce and Industries has put pressure on the customs office to impose tax on imports exceeding Rs 500, the office has not been able to do so due to lack of manpower and infrastructure. 

The office has collected Rs 21 million in July. But monthly revenue collection fell to Rs 18 million in August. The office mobilized only Rs 18 million in September when market activities increased significantly due to Dashain festival. 

In the last fiscal year, the small customs office had mobilized Rs 20 million.

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