CHITWAN, April 3: Mayor of Bharatpur Municipality, Renu Dahal, has defended the metropolitan city’s recent decision to hike tax rates, stating that the new rates are justifiable considering the current situation of the country.
Speaking at a press meet on Monday, Dahal has that the previous tax rate and tax limitations were impractical and unscientific. “That is why we made some revisions in tax rates,” she added.
Dahal’s reaction comes a few days after local businesspeople submitted a memorandum at the metropolitan city office, urging officials to revisit the decision.
They mayor, however, claimed that new tax rates and service charges were introduced after holding discussion with all local representatives, federal and provincial lawmakers, representatives of political parties, business leaders and other stakeholders.
The first municipal council meeting of Bharatpur Municipality held on January 7 took the decision to increase tax rates.
“We have only made slight increment in taxes and service charges directly related with general public. Other taxes have also been increased as per the Local Government Operation Act,” she said, adding: “Now onwards, business tax will be collected based on capital investment and financial transactions of business houses.”
The metropolitan city had begun discussion to increase tax rates from November last year.
Prem Raj Joshi, chief administration officer of Bharatpur Metropolitan City, said that the tax rates were raised only after holding discussion with Revenue Consultant Committee. “The decision is justified. It won’t affect public,” he claimed.
The tax rates were increased also because a city must mobilize Rs 1 billion as internal revenue to become a metropolitan city.
Before the fresh hike in tax rates, the metropolis was collecting taxes under 115 headings. Now, the metropolitan city is levying taxes and service charges under 208 different headings.
Joshi also said that the metropolis has expanded tax net by bringing enterprises like hotels, resorts, hospitals, and feed industries as well as some big industries under tax ambit.
In FY2016/17, the metropolis had mobilized Rs 239.8 million from internal revenue. The metropolis has targeted to earn Rs 630 million from internal revenue and Rs 70 million from revenue distribution by the federal government, Joshi added.
There are around 10,000 corporate taxpayers in the metropolitan city.
Meanwhile, the metropolis has formed a seven-member taskforce to study demands placed by businesspeople.
The taskforce is led by Chief Administration Officer Prem Raj Joshi. Other members of the team include president and senior vice president of Bharatpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), a representative of Industry Association Chitwan, chairperson of Wards 1 and 10 of Bharatpur Metropolitan City, as well as a representative from Inland Revenue Office, Chitwan.
Meanwhile, Mayor Dahal has announced to provide necessary land to build an international-standard cricket stadium in Chitwan. Speaking at the press meet, Dahal said that the metropolitan city was ready to provide land to Dhurmus Suntali Foundation to build cricket stadium. She said the metropolitan city will soon write a letter to the foundation, assuring it to provide all possible support to build a stadium.