December 8: Despite the lifting of the ban imposed on the import of vehicles by the government, automobile importers and entrepreneurs have been agitated saying that Nepal Rastra Bank’s policy had ruined auto industry.
Auto entrepreneurs led by the NADA Automobiles Association of Nepal staged a sit-in at Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu today. Carrying placards against the government and Nepal Rastra Bank, protesting auto importers demanded with government for business-friendly policies. They warned of continuing with their agitation until their demands were addressed by the government and Nepal Rastra Bank.
Speaking at the sit-in programme, NADA Automobile Associations of Nepal Chairman Dhruba Thapa said that though import of the vehicles was open provision of 50 per cent and 100 per cent cash margin while opening letter of credit (LC) for importing vehicles had made them hard to import vehicles. Thapa demanded that the government remove the cash margin provision.
“The government has to remove cash margin provisions while opening (LC) and increase financing cap to 80 per cent from the current 50 per cent”, Thapa demanded. He argued that selling vehicles would be tough with 50 per cent financing cap and current increased interest rate. Thapa warned of waging stern protest if their demands are not addressed immediately. “Nepal Rastra Bank’s policies are against the auto industry. The central bank has aggravated the industry, which is already struggling due to liquidity crisis and soaring interest rate”, Thapa added.
Auto entrepreneurs have put forward a host of demands. Their demands include removing working capital guidelines, scrapping 50 per cent and 100 per cent cash margin provision while opening letter of credit (LC), lowering auto loan risk weightage from current 150 per cent to 75 per cent, and review of Credit Deposit ratio, among others.
The government had imposed the ban on the import of cars, jeeps, vans and motorbikes above the capacity of 150 CC along with other edible goods since April 26, 2022. Terming the vehicles as luxury goods, the government had banned the import of vehicles, citing depletion of foreign currency reserves. A Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday had decided to lift ban on the import of all kinds of goods and services including vehicles from December 16.
Organizing a press meet on December 2, NADA Automobiles Association of Nepal had announced a series of agitations. As part of the protest programme, automobile entrepreneurs and importers had staged the sit-in today.