HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The price of environment-friendly electric vehicles is likely to go down from next fiscal year. The government is mulling over implementing a provision of zero per cent customs duty in import of such vehicles to promote their use.
After President Ram Baran Yadav declared to bring environment-friendly vehicles and transport policy to encourage use of green vehicles through policies and programmes for next fiscal year, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) is preparing to recommend zero per cent duty to Ministry of Finance (MoF). MoPIT has already sent the policy to the Cabinet for approval.
“Once the Cabinet endorses the policy, we will recommend MoF to give full customs duty waiver in import of electric vehicles,” said Nabin Pokhrel, senior divisional engineer at MoPIT. He added that since the issue was related to government revenue, consent from MoF is
Even as the policy presented to the Cabinet talks of providing different facility for import of green vehicles, it has not fixed any exact size of customs duty waiver to be offered. Heavy duty and other taxes imposed in import of vehicles have been making buying vehicles in Nepal probably the most expensive in the world.
According to automobile dealers, the government has been charging a total of 248 per cent taxes, including customs duty, excise duty and value added tax in fossil fuel run vehicles. And those who import electric vehicles have to pay 80 per cent customs duty besides other charges.
MoPIT officials said that they are planning to provide customs waiver for all electric vehicles, irrespective of whether for public transport or
private use. The proposed policy plans to promote operation of bigger electric vehicles for public transport, encourage hybrid and electric automobiles for private use, and authorise conversion of fuel run vehicles into electric.
With President Yadav already declaring to bring the policy, the Cabinet is expected to endorse it within a week. The policy envisages bringing down fuel imports and reducing air pollution. Similarly, commercial conversion of fuel run vehicles to electric ones is also expected to reduce vehicle import. Other issues in the policy include issuance of route permission for operation of electric public vehicles and areas for operation of electric public vehicles and charging stations for such vehicles.
Each year, the government has been importing huge quantity of petroleum products which has also contributed in widening the country’s trade deficit with India. Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association has been lobbying with the government since long to give special facilities for import of electric and hybrid vehicles into the domestic market.
Some electric vehicles like Reva car and Safa Tempo are already in operation in the country. There are over 2,000 electric vehicles plying on the roads in the country at present, with around 600 units of Safa Tempos, 50 plus four-wheelers like Reva electric cars and 1,500 two-wheelers.