September 27: Goods including clothes will be expensive in the local market during this Dashain and Tihar due to the indifference of the government in facilitating the flow of goods from across the northern border in China.
For the past two weeks, goods from China, including Quanzhou, have been stuck in Shigatse, Nyalam. About 1,100 containers crossing Lhasa are in various parking lots in Tibet, an autonomous region of China, while the warehouse of the customs office in Nepal is empty.
Ashok Kumar Shrestha, president of the Nepal Trans Himalayan Border Commerce Association said that as the Chinese officials are sending limited containers, there is less possibility that the Nepali importers could sell the goods ordered for Dashain. “More than 1,100 containers have been stopped in Khasa, Nyalam and Sigatse areas,” said Shrestha.
Chief of Tatopani customs Narad Gautam said that an agreement has been reached between the two countries to allow 20 containers to enter Nepal through Tatopani customs per day. Such agreement was reached during a joint meeting between the officials of Tibet's Commerce, Customs, Ports and Foreign Affairs Office and Nepa’s consul general in Lhasa Nawaraj Dhakal last Thursday. However, a maximum of eight containers of goods are being imported despite such understanding.
He also informed that goods being imported for Dashain and Tihar have not arrived yet. “Only agricultural and health related goods are currently imported,” he said.
Consul General Nawaraj Dhakal, in the meeting with Chinese officials, had urged them to increase the volume of imports as the goods for Dashan and Tihar were stuck in the Chinese territory.
Gautam said that the complaints of Nepali traders were increasing due to the harassment from the Chinese side.
The traders had ordered goods for Dashain and Tihar using 'We Chat' with a plan to bring them to Kathmandu within 20 days at the most after buying them from Chinese cities.
“All the goods for Dashain Tihar are stuck in the Chinese territory,” said Raj Kumar Basnet, president of the Sindhupalchok Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “If this situation continues, the goods will not be able to reach Kathmandu in a month,” he said. Moreover, he said that the traders were affected due to the loan interest, double warehouse rent and waste of time.
Basnet said that the problem has been added due to the lack of government’s priority for the construction and maintenance of the road to the customs point. The importers have started relying on Indian ports for import after the deteriorating environment for importing goods by land route. He said that despite repeated memorandums to the prime minister, ministers and government staff demanding an environment for easy import of goods, they have not been heard.