Nepal to lift ban on import of vehicles, liquor products

Nepal’s cabinet has decided to lift an eight-month-long ban on the import of some vehicles, liquor products and expensive mobile sets from December 16, a cabinet minister said.

Maheshwor Jung Gahatraj, Minister for Youth and Sports, told Xinhua on Tuesday that a decision to lift the ban was made by the cabinet.

The ban was first imposed in April this year amid depleting foreign exchange reserves over surging imports, targeting luxuries, including tobacco, diamonds as well as some vehicles, liquor products and expensive smartphones, Xinhua news agency reported.

In late August, the government relaxed the ban, barring only the entry of targeted vehicles, expensive mobile sets and liquor products till October 13, and the ban was extended later till mid-December.

The business community in Nepal has been demanding an end to the import ban, citing business losses and the move’s failure to stop the decline in forex reserves.

The Nepali government is also under pressure to increase its revenue as the ban means reduced tariffs.

According to the Department of Customs, Nepal’s total imports during the first four months of the current 2022-23 fiscal year starting in mid-July dipped by 18 per cent to 532.69 billion Nepali rupees (about $4 billion).

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