July 20: Import of vehicles and fuel dominated Nepal’s foreign trade through the Birgunj customs. The data of the customs department shows that vehicles and fuel imported through Birgunj customs were the major contributors to government revenue in the last fiscal year (FY 2020/21).
“Vehicles and petroleum products are the main products entering through Birgunj customs. These items have been included as the major import in the last fiscal year as well,” said chief customs officer Harihar Poudel.
Vehicles including jeeps, vans, motorcycles, trucks, mini-trucks as well as fuel in large quantity have entered the country from this checkpoint in the last fiscal year. A significant amount of industrial raw materials also enters through this checkpoint.
Hari Gautam, coordinator of the Birgunj Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says that the industries of Bara-Parsa Industrial corridor import raw materials from this customs point. MS Billets, coal, steel strips, polythene, food grains and raw materials are the other major import items.
Fans, optical fiber cables, car batteries, vehicle spareparts and allopathic medicines are also imported. Customs data shows that soybean oil, juice, cloth, shoes and other products are exported from Nepal.
Birgunj customs has collected revenue of Rs 170 billion in the last fiscal year. Although the foreign trade was expected to decline due to Covid-19, the customs office almost met the target by the end of last year.
Chief customs officer Poudel informed that 99.6 percent of the revenue target was raised between July 2020 to July 2021. “The amount collected is Rs 710 million less than the target. Birgunj customs was given a target of raising Rs 170.76 billion for the last fiscal year,” he told New Business Age.
Imports were expected to decline after a prohibitory order was imposed in various districts since May to control the pandemic. However, the revenue target has been met as the ban has not had much effect on foreign trade.