January 27: Petroleum products and vehicles have entered Nepal in the highest quantity through Birgunj checkpost – the country’s main border point in terms of import and export volume. These items have dominated the main list of goods imported through Birgunj customs in the last six months.
According to the Birgunj Customs Office, petroleum products and vehicles have been at the forefront of the 20 main items imported in the current fiscal year (FY 2078/79) from July to December.
Chief Customs Officer Harihar Poudel said that the contribution of such items is more in the revenue collected by Birgunj Customs.
Petroleum products and vehicles alone account for about 62 percent of the total revenue. The contribution from petroleum products is 37.4 percent, and 24.4 percent from automobiles. The Birgunj customs office had collected revenue of Rs 105 billion in six months.
The five main items entering the country through this checkpoint are diesel, four-wheelers (jeep/car/van), petrol, motorcycle, and LP gas, respectively. In the first half of the current fiscal year, 614,000 kiloliters of diesel worth Rs 44.41 billion has been imported through this checkpoint. This amount is 22 percent more than the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year 2077/78.
Import of jeeps/cars and vans, which is second in the import list, has also increased by 43 percent. According to customs data, 4,029 automobiles worth Rs 4.90 billion have been imported in the first six months of the current fiscal year.
Similarly, 250,000 kiloliters of petrol was imported during the review period which is 25 percent higher than the previous year.
The government has been saying it will reduce the import of LP gas by increasing electricity consumption but the figures suggest otherwise. The import of LPG has increased by 15 percent. It is seen that 137,000 metric tons of LP gas have been imported in the last six months. Birgunj is the main entry point for petroleum products.
According to the customs officials, about half of the nation's total imports enter from this port.
Meanwhile, imports of motorcycles have declined. Imports of motorcycles fell by 32 percent in the first six months of this year.
Customs officials claim that the import from Birgunj has decreased as some importers who used to import motorcycles from Birgunj have now gone to Bhairahawa customs. The office estimates that such imports have decreased as motorcycles are being assembled in the country.
According to customs data, imports of unassembled motorcycles have increased by 819 percent in the last six months. As of December last year, 868 such motorcycles had been imported. Now, this number has reached 7 thousand 979.
Coal, mobile, aviation fuel, tar, furnace oil, base oil, and other petroleum products enter the country through Birgunj. Likewise, significant quantities of trucks, buses, and dumpers have also been imported. According to the customs office, readymade garments and semi-refined oil, iron, and other industrial raw materials are the main items entering the country through this checkpoint.