A decrease in imports of iron from India has reduced revenue collection at the customs office of Sirsiya Dry Port in Birgunj for two consecutive months of this fiscal year beginning mid-July.
Dhan Bahadur Baruwal, information officer at the customs office, said that the office collected revenue worth Rs2.56 billion in mid-August to mid-September period, against the target of Rs2.89 billion.
Revenue collection also fell short of target in the first months (mid-July to mid-August) of the current fiscal year. In the first month, the office collected revenue amounting to Rs2.46 billion, against the target of Rs2.56 billion.
Baruwal, however, said that traditionally revenue collection drops during the two month period but recovers from mid-September. A large amount of goods are imported during the mid-September period targeting the Dashain and Tihar festivals that increases the revenue collection at customs points as well.
Iron is one of the major revenue generating goods. In the last fiscal year, iron products worth Rs35.52 billion was imported from the Dry Port. The amount was Rs29.35 billion in the previous fiscal year.
According to officials, Jagadamba Steels, one of the major importers, has shifted its trade points to Birgunj and Biratnagar to import the raw material and the impact is being felt at Sirsiya Dry Port.
Jagadamba Steel is currently importing only two to three rakes of raw material from the Dry Port when it used to import up to 11 rakes of the raw material per month.
Of the total amount, more than half of the iron from Sirsiya used to be imported by Jagadamba. The company commands a big share in the domestic iron rod market.
Revenue from each rake of iron imported stands at Rs15 million. Jagadamba has started curbing its imports of raw material from the Dry Port since mid-January 2018. The iron rod manufacturer based in the industrial corridor at Parsa and Bara has been using Sirsiya Dry Port to import raw material from India for a decade.
Narayani Rolling, Hulas Steel, Hama Iron, and Rajesh Metal have been using the Dry Port to import iron-related goods.
Last fiscal year, the customs office at the Dry Port collected revenue worth Rs27.34 billion agains the target of Rs28.29 billion.