Finance minister makes unreliable claims about Nepali printing industry
Injina Panthi / July 30, 2019
On June 28, 2019, during a discussion on the finance bill 2076 [ go to 45 mins 45 secs into the video] in parliament, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada made the following claims.
- Nepali publishers print books outside the country, they don’t have to pay customs duties. And, they sell those books in Nepal.
- There are around 7,000 printing presses in Nepal.
- There is an investment of around Rs 100 billion in the Nepal printing industry.
South Asia Check has examined the claims of Finance Minister.
Claim 1: Nepali publishers print books outside the country, they don’t have to pay customs duties. And, they sell those books in Nepal.
Section 49 of the “Customs Duties Rates 2073/74” has listed the customs rates on the import of books printed abroad by Nepali publishers.
On page 329 of the document, it is stated the customs duty on the import of printed material in “book form” is 6 percent of the price for SAARC countries and 10 percent of the price for elsewhere.
This is not the first time customs duty has been imposed on the import of books printed abroad by Nepali publishers. For instance, let’s see the Customs Duties Rates 2075/76. On page 310 of the document, the provision regarding the customs duties on the import of books published abroad by Nepali publishers is similar to the provision of fiscal year 2073/74.
This shows the finance minister lied to parliament.
Claim 2: There are around 7,000 printing presses in Nepal.
South Asia check couldn’t find official government data on the number of printing presses. However, according to a memorandum submitted to the Ministry of Finance by the Federation of Nepal Printers’ Association (FNPA) on May 18, 2019, there are around 4,000 printing presses including 1,500 multicolor printing presses and cutting and perfecting among other equipment in Nepal. According to the federation, around 2,400 printing entrepreneurs are affiliated with the federation.
Therefore, the finance minister’s claim, which was made without citing official data, appears unreliable.
Claim 3: There is an investment of Rs 100 billion in the Nepali printing industry.
South Asia Check could not find official data on the investment amount but the same FNPA memorandum states that the fixed capital of the Nepali printing industry, which includes printing presses and binding and packaging equipment, stands at around Rs 12 billion.
Since the finance minister’s claim regarding the investment in the printing industry — made without citing official data — is much higher than the figures cited by the FNPA, the finance minister’s claim is unreliable.
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