Automobile traders, who opened the Letters of Credit before April 26, are now allowed to import vehicles, costing Rs 9 billion in foreign currency reserves.
KATHMANDU, August 18: The government has allowed importing vehicles on condition, reversing its earlier decision to impose a complete ban on the import of automobiles.
Publishing a notice in Nepal Gazette on August 11, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies permitted importing automobiles provided the importers opened the Letters of Credit (LC) before April 26. Bowing to the pressure of the automobiles traders, the government has turned lenient to the import of vehicles, one of the luxury items that causes a large amount of foreign currency to drain out of the country.
After the country started facing the heat of depleting foreign currency reserves, the government imposed a ban on the imports of 10 luxury items by issuing a notice in Nepal Gazette a few months ago. The embargo on import was being applied to the imports of cars, vans, and motorcycles with an engine capacity of more than 250 cc.
Liquor, mobile sets worth more than $600, color television sets larger than 32 inches, diamonds, cigarettes and tobacco products, toys and playing cards and ready-to-eat snacks like potato chips were also included in the list of government restrictions.
The automobile traders have been demanding the government allow the import of vehicles on the pretext of the approaching Dashain and Tihar, the big festivals of Hindus, when the vehicles make voluminous sales. With the government’s permission, an estimated 900 imported vehicles worth Rs 9 billion will be available for sale in the domestic market anytime soon.