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No major changes effected

  • Finance Ordinance promulgated
KATHMANDU, JAN 16 -

The Finance Ordinance 2060 promulgated today by the King has given continuation to current budgetary policy except minor adjustments on customs duty. The ordinance was earlier this morning approved by the cabinet meeting and sent to the Royal Palace. The new ordinance is a constitutional compulsion to the government, as the last year’s ordinance promulgated in July expired on Wednesday. The newly announced ordinance has lowered the customs duty in mobile sets to 5 per cent from 15 per cent. It has also slashed customs duty on ambulance and hearse. Similarly, special duty of 0.5 per cent imposed on the imports of medicines has been scraped while customs duty on syringe has been slashed to 5 per cent. This makes customs duty on all drugs and syringe uniform at 5 per cent. The ordinance has also announced some minor concessions to small scale exporters and importers. Arrangement has been made to clear the huge street lamp arrears of municipalities to Nepal Electricity Authority by diverting some portion of local development fee. Except for some special timbers, the ordinance has also lowered government’s share in the revenue earned from community-managed forestry from 40 per cent to 10 per cent. The new ordinance has also imposed foreign employment service fee of Rs 500 on those who personally go abroad for employment. Earlier, such fee was applicable only to those who opted for foreign job through registered institution. On policy front, the ordinance has announced measures to expedite reforms in revenue administration. With an aim to make the administration more effective and transparent, the ordinance has announced formation of a separate institution under the Inland Revenue Department to deal with big taxpayers only. Similarly, the ordinance has also vowed to speed up the implementation of three-year Customs Administration Reform Plan that is under implementation. The finance ordinance has, however, ignored the plea of the private sector to slash the present income and corporate tax rates to provide some relief to terror-wracked private sector. Likewise, it has not changed the development and regular expenditures allocated for the current fiscal year. However, it has announced some measures to increase low absorption of development expenditures, which has just crossed four billion rupees during the first five months of the current fiscal year. Despite government’s repeated commitment to accelerate financial sector reform, the ordinance has not announced any concrete programmes to expedite it. The ordinance has explained in detail the economic performance of first six months of the current fiscal year. Finance Minister Dr Lohani briefing the progress stressed that despite existing challenges, fiscal balance would be maintained. "The budget target for economic growth rate, inflation and money supply would be achieved," he claimed.Posted on: 2004-01-17 03:53


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