October 13: Coronavirus has not only weakened the country’s economy but also disrupted production and supply chain. The effect of coronavirus is now being observed in the core of the economic activities.
Birgunj customs point, which accounts for the maximum foreign trade of Nepal, has witnessed a massive decline in import of vehicles, petroleum products and raw materials for industries.
The import of these vital products took a nosedive in the first three months of the current fiscal year.
The Birgunj Customs Office informed that the import has declined drastically compared to the last fiscal year. Customs officer Ramesh Sukmani informed that the import of vehicles, petroleum product as well as raw materials has declined to a great extent.
Birgunj is the major entry point for vehicles, petroleum products and raw materials.
Data kept by the customs office shows that the import of vehicles has dropped by more than 50 percent and so has the revenue.
Altogether 1174 jeeps and cars have been imported as of October 9 in the current fiscal year. The import of vehicles during the corresponding period of last FY was 2786.
The import of morotcycles, pick-up vans, trucks, mini trucks, auto rickshaw have also declined during the review period.
Similarly, the import of diesel, petrol and aviation turbine fuel (ATF) have dropped by 51, 25 and 77 percent respectively.
Information officer of the customs office Bimal Kumar Sah says that the import through the customs point declined heavily due to the obstruction in transportation after the government imposed lockdown and prohibitory order.
Industrialists say that the lack of demand in the market has also led to a decline in import of raw materials.
Industrialist Rajesh Kyal says the decline in import of raw materials and petroleum products as well as luxurious goods is a sign of economic contraction.
“The lockdown has taken toll on employment opportunities which in turn has hit earning capacity of the people. This has led to a decline in demand and production. In such a scenario, it is obvious for import to decline,” says Kyal.