Packaged food imports to be strictly monitored for tax evasion
Lack of labelling and prices on imported food packages has led to under-invoicing and loss of revenue for the government besides allowing merchants to charge too much, the ministry said.
According to the statistics of the Department of Customs, Nepal imported Rs2 billion worth of sweet biscuits, wafers, toasted bread and other bakery items in fiscal 2016-17.
Many importers have been selling these goods without proper labelling showing the expiry date, the ingredients used and even the name of the company. “This has led to cases of tax evasion through under-invoicing,” Supplies Minister Shiva Kumar Mandal said at a programme on Friday.
According to the ministry, sales of these goods soar mainly during festival season. “As a result, there is a rise in the number offences in the market during festivals like Dashain and Tihar,” Mandal said. He has called for coordination among government agencies including the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to control such malpractices.
The IRD has taken action against 509 businesses found violating government rules during market inspections conducted last week. A large number of traders were found to be using fake excise duty stickers while others were booked for not issuing invoices or operating without a licence.
During the market inspections carried out by the ministry three weeks ago, it sealed nine retail outlets for overcharging customers and engaging in under-invoicing.
“These are just a few examples of the misconduct going on in the imported goods business,” said Minister Mandal. He added that the action had encouraged other government agencies to initiate similar moves in other areas where malpractices are widespread.
Mandal accused traders of engaging in ‘seasonal business’ without maintaining professionalism to maximise their profits. “The irregularity has spread throughout the whole system and encouraged malpractices.”
The government had earlier moved to implement the provision of maximum retail price for imported items. Likewise, an attempt was made to implement the Import Export Code (IE Code) to bring all exporters and importers under the formal customs system. However, these plans remained on paper and wrongdoing began to spread.
KATHMANDU: Supplies Minister Shiva Kumar Mandal on Friday warned oil tanker owners to formalise their business by registering all their vehicles with the government. “It has come to the notice of the government that a number of oil transporters have been operating their tankers illegally,” Mandal said.
According to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), about 1,700 oil tankers are in operation. Sacked NOC managing director Gopal Bahadur Khadka had issued permits to 350 new oil tankers to bring fuel from India. (PR)