‘Improve attitude, embrace technology to give positive message of customs’
Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala today asked the customs officials to improve their attitude as the customs department has become a synonym for corruption.
Addressing the 62nd International Customs Day, here in the valley, he said that the department must embrace new technology, and boost infrastructure. "The customs should be paperless," he said, asking the officials to facilitate the trade instead of taking the customs as only the revenue mobilisation centre. "The customs point of any country is the indicator of a country's economic health and physical development."
Nepal has committed in the international forums like World Trade Organisation (WTO), SAFTA to facilitate trade. And trained human resources is key to facilitate the trade, Koirala added. "Use of information technology will promote transparency, and boost confidence and trust. However, strong will power is important to bring in a change."
Likewise, finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi, on the occasion, said that there is some 40 per cent of illegal trade and customs leakages, but no one is ready to take responsibility. "It’s a shame to read about Nepal as a transit point for smuggling of gold, red sandalwood, drugs and fake currency," he said, urging for a reform in the customs.
Asking the revenue administration not to take extra benefit – as they have been paid cent per cent incentives from the government – Subedi said that it’s a serious issue of honesty and integrity.
Suggesting to form a Revenue Board and customs barrack, secretary at the Office of Prime Minister Krishna Hari Baskota said the reform is necessary for the revenue administration.
Likewise, chief of Revenue Division of Finance Ministry Rajan Kjanal said that the customs is not only a checking point but also border management. "Its reform is a must."
However, director general of the Customs Department Surya Prasad Acharya claimed that they are focusing on trade facilitation, checking of illegal trade, infrastructure development and auto-customs. "
The International Customs Day is celebrated in some 179 countries that are the members of World Customs Organisation (WCO). Nepal has been celebrating the day after it took membership in 1985.