August 17: Six galvanized iron (GI) wire industries in the Sunsari-Morang industrial corridor have been shut down due to the unfair tax rates imposed by the government.
Finance Minister Janardan Sharma had assured to correct the unequal tax rates but failed to keep his words. As a result, around 1,500 workers have become unemployed due to the faulty decision of the government.
According to the industrialists, Hulas Wire, Aarti Wire, Arihant Wire Industry, Kamala Wire, Premier Wire and Pioneer Wire Pvt. Ltd. of Sunsari-Morang Industrial Corridor have been closed.
Pawan Sharda, director of Premier Steel and member of the Constituent Assembly, said that the government is not ready to correct the unequal tax rates. It shows that the government is not in favor of the industry.
“The government does not want jobs to be created in the country. Otherwise why could the promise made by the minister not be fulfilled on time and the industry had to be closed today?” he questioned.
Sharda said that the industries have posted notices informing about their closure and the labor office has been informed about it. He added that the wrong policy of the government resulted in unemployment of 1,500 people. He claimed that the industries will incur monthly loss of Rs 1 million to Rs 1.5 million even if the industries remain closed. Sharda says that even if the government fixes the tax rate and tells them to start the industry, it will take 2 months to reopen the industries.
Through the budget announced for the current fiscal year, Finance Minister Sharma had increased the customs duty on mild steel (MS) wire rod, the raw material required for this industry from 5 to 10 percent. Excise duty was changed from Rs 2.50 to Rs 4.50 per kg. India also started levying a 15 percent duty on the export of MS wire to protect its industry.
Anil Sharda, general secretary of Chamber of Industries, Morang and owner of Pioneer Wire said that they had to pay 29.5 percent of import duty in total after adding India's export duty along with Nepal's import duty and excise duty on the import of MS wire.
On the other hand, GI wire produced from the same MS wire rod can be imported from India by paying 16 percent revenue under the SAFTA facility.
Suysha Raj Pyakurel, president of the chamber, said that GI wire export dropped from 22,740 metric tons in the year 2018/19 to 672 tons in the year 2021/22 due to the additional excise duty imposed by the government.
According to Payakurel, after Sharma was reinstated as the Finance Minister, he had given verbal assurance to remove the unequal tax rates soon.
Naveen Rijal, president of the Morang Merchants Association, said that six large wire industries and 40 small industries dependent on them closed due to failure to fulfill the assurance given by Finance Minister Sharma. Yukti Golchha, owner and managing director of Hulas Wire said that the factory producing 150 tons of GI wire per day has been closed as well.