KASKI, Oct 24: Authorized businesses in Pokhara have complained that vendors who informally sell goods at the footpaths or small shops have posed threat to their businesses.
They have said that they are forced to compete with those vendors who are not registered with the concerned government agencies and are out of the tax net. At an event organized in Pokhara to welcome Keshav Kumar Upreti, incoming chief tax officer of Pokhara-based Inland Revenue Office, traders said that despite they were paying taxes and were legally registered with PAN and VAT, besides paying regular rents, they had to compete with those unauthorized vendors. This, the traders said, has put them at a position of comparative disadvantage.
"The Inland Revenue Office should now focus not only on collecting taxes from the registered traders but also on bringing the unregistered traders into the tax net," said Biswoshankhar Palikhe, president of Pokhara Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Palikhe further said: "We have really suffered in our businesses due to these unauthorized traders. The revenue office should immediately start monitoring their businesses. We are ready to provide any assistance if needed."
"About 50 to 60 percent of the vendors who run motorbike workshops in this city are of Indian origin. They are earning well but are not registered," complained a local motorbike workshop operator in Pokhara. "How did they get a PAN from the revenue office?"
After listening to the traders, Upreti agreed on the need to bring the informal vendors into the tax net. "The vendors who import goods from India should be monitored by the customs office." He also said that problem was due to the open border between Nepal and India.
Local businessman Yam Prasad Paudel raised the issue of selling of smuggled liquor in open spaces. He said: "Small liquor shops are selling liquor without excise duty stickers. We have also found several traders selling liquor in open spaces. Most of the liquor is imported illegally."
Upreti said that it was necessary to check the small-time vendors as they neither paid taxes to the government, nor the quality of their goods could be guaranteed.
Vowing to monitor and check such traders, Upreti said: "We will be monitoring and taking action to control such activities. Please pass to us any information that you may have."
The traders said that those small-time vendors should not be given membership of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
According to the tax law, every new business needs to be registered with the government either before it begins operation or within 30 days of operation. Upreti said that even the seasonal businesses set up at temporary fairs during festivals need to be registered.
At the event, Upreti also pledged to bring the hotels of Mustang into the tax net. He said, "Hotels in Mustang are not registered in VAT and are selling smuggled liquor."
There are a total of 113,000 taxpayers in Pokhara, out of which only 10,700 are registered with VAT, according to the statistics of Inland Revenue Office .