October 12: The government has lifted a ban on import of foreign liquor. The Council of Ministers has decided to lift the ban which was in force since the last seven months.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali, who is also the government’s spokesperson, informed that the cabinet decided to lift the ban upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies.
Issuing a notice in the Nepal Gazette, the government had banned the import of foreign liquor on March 24 while imposing the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
With the ban in place for several months, liquors of foreign brand were being smuggled from India after running out of stock. The government has stated that the ban was lifted to discourage illegal smuggling of liquor. The government is also expecting an increase in revenue collection after lifting the ban.
The import of whiskey in the current fiscal year has been worth Rs 820 million so far while its import was worth Rs 1.7 billion during the last fiscal year.
SPG Trading, Global Trading, Sahara Allied are some of the companies that import foreign liquor to Nepal.
Liquors like whiskey, wine, vodka, gin among others are mostly imported from India, Germany, Scotland, Italy, the USA, Belgium, Cuba as well as Gulf countries. The liquor dealers say that the consumption of foreign liquor goes up during the festive season.
Nepal imports liquor as well as raw materials for liquor worth Rs 5 billion every year. The government collects revenue of Rs500 million from the import of such products.