Transport protest hurts market
The ongoing protests in the transport sector have caused a scarcity of consumption goods in Chitwan. The uproar was caused by the Government’s decision of levying Value Added Tax in the transport sector, introducing the Vehicle Consignment Tracking System (VCTS), and issuing PAN to all the salaried employees.
A scarcity of agricultural produces has been observed in Bharatpur, informed Thir Prasad Dhital, Chairperson of the Vegetables and Fruits Entrepreneur’s Association. “There used to be a daily supply of 150 tons worth of fruits and vegetables, now we hardly get 100 tons worth of produces,” he added.
The import-export of fruits and vegetables are ferried by almost 100 vehicles, and the daily business transaction is worth 60 million, he said, adding that around 60 percent of the produces are exported to other districts. “The lack of vehicles has put the entire industry at risk.”
The director of Bharatpur’s Utsav Enterprises – that has been responsible for supplying manufacturing goods – Amar Rayamajhi, said that the available stocks are on the verge of running out due to off-season. Likewise, Anamol Feed Private Limited mentioned that importing raw materials from India has become extremely difficult. According to him, “there are around 50 industries producing grains in Chitwan.” But the lack of raw materials has affected the production itself.
Likewise, according to the president of Nepal Egg Producers Association Trilochan Kandel, a scarcity in the availability of grains can be noticed, even though the business surrounding eggs is still unaffected. Nepal Pharmacy Council Chitwan’s president Badri Prasad Khanal has also described the difficulties regarding making medicines available in the rural parts of the country due to the transport protests. “The new economic policy of implementation of VCTS has created an abundance of hurdles which should be addressed soon,” he added.
There are some 45 transport entrepreneurs in Chitwan, and they operate over 150 vehicles on a daily basis. “Trucks are used the most in the transport sector, however, truck drivers themselves are refusing to to work” he said, adding that the transport business has been running due to the coordination between almost 50 percent of the businessmen and the drivers.
According to Chitwan Chambers of Commerce and Industry chair Sahanlal Pradhan, “Apart from VCTS, the 13 percent VAT on transport will increase the prices of the goods in the market.”
He also suggested the government to bring business-friendly environment rather than demoralizing the private sector. The ongoing protest will also bleed the government coffer as the government will fail to mobilize the revenue. In the last fiscal year also the government has failed to meet the revenue mobilization target.