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Nepal's customs to go online

Staff writer |
Import and export in Nepal will take place through online system from next year as the government is working to introduce information technology (IT) based customs procedure.

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Government officials said the IT system was being adopted under the reformation of Nepal's customs administration, which aims to ensure trade facilitation. Nepal's customs administration has been characterized of being bureaucratic, procedural and full of hassles due to the longer processing time, higher cost and more paper works required at the custom points, reports Xinhua.

"The move aims at reducing time, cost and processes involved in import and export of goods," Surya Acharya, director general at Nepal's Customs Department told Xinhua.

According to the Doing Business Index (DBI), exporting a standard container of goods from Nepal requires 11 documents, takes 42 days and costs 2295 U.S. dollars, while importing the same container of goods requires 11 documents, takes 39 days and costs 2400 U.S. dollars. The DBI, unveiled last month, ranked Nepal at 177th place on the efficiency of trading across borders among 189 global economies.

Officials believe the introduction of IT system in customs will prompt reduction of more than 75 percent of time, cost and steps in foreign trade and will help the traders to carry out their trade from their own places through IT system, making the entire process a hassle-free.

Surya Acharya, however, said it will take two years for the whole customs procedures to go online. "The department is introducing e-customs master plan within a year to have reformation in existing customs administration and process," added Acharya.

The Customs Department has also been adopting one-window system in customs by integrating immigration, quarantine, security, tax system and other aspects associated with trade.

Nepali traders believe the online system will help reduce direct interaction between the traders and customs officials, which will then reduce the cases of malpractices like under- invoicing, tax evasion and corruption, among others.

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