December 1: The import of fuel and spare parts of vehicles from Birgunj customs, the country’s largest customs in terms of import and export, has outnumbered other products. Among the 20 major items that are imported via this customs, 11 of them are related to petroleum products and vehicles. Besides these products, semi-refined soybean oil, HR seat, raw sunflower oil, raw palm oil, steel steppe, polythene granules, MS billets, concentrated beverages and other industrial raw materials are also imported in large quantities.
Readymade garments are also one of the main items entering the country through this checkpoint. Fuel and vehicles seem to be the biggest contributors to the revenue collected by the customs.
As per the data of the customs office, they have collected the highest revenue from the import of such products in the first four months of the current fiscal year.
According to the Birgunj Customs Office, about two-thirds of the revenue collected accounted for the import of petroleum products and vehicles from mid-July to mid-November of the current fiscal year.
Chief customs officer Harihar Poudel said that in the last four month, petroleum products have contributed 33.23 percent of the total revenue while vehicle imports have contributed 28.87 percent. The Department of Customs had collected more than Rs 70 billion in the first four months.
The construction of a petroleum pipeline from Motihari to Amalekhgunj in India has facilitated the transportation of fuel.
Import of such items has increased significantly during the review period this year while there was lockdown and prohibitory order during most of the time in the corresponding period of last fiscal year. Imports and exports were also affected due to closure of production and market last year.
The information technology branch of Birgunj customs informed that the import of diesel increased by 41 percent, petrol by 36 percent and cooking gas (LPG) by 14 percent in the review period of the current fiscal year.
Similarly, import of aviation fuel also increased by 162 percent, according to the data provided by the customs. The import of such fuel was very low last year due to the disruption of domestic and international aviation services. The import of coal and mobil has increased by 34 ad 29 percent respectively.
The import of vehicles has also increased significantly this year. Imports of jeeps, cars and vans have increased the most. In the corresponding period of last year, 1,963 such vehicles had entered through Birgunj customs. According to the customs, the number has reached 3,406 this year. The import of jeeps, cars and vans have increased by 74 percent.
Similarly, the import of pickup vehicles, trucks/buses, vehicle parts, equipment and tools used in development works have also increased significantly.
Poudel said that due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, there was a shortage of production and this year such items did not enter as expected. “Vehicle imports should have been higher. But due to coronavirus, vehicle and spare parts manufacturers had stopped production for a long time and now they are not able to supply as per the demand,” he said, “If manufacturers could supply as many vehicles as per the demand, the import of vehicles would have been much higher.”