KATHMANDU: The Nepalese government is extending a comprehensive import ban on 10 types of products until the end of August, as the country still struggles with a dwindling foreign exchange reserve.
According to the notice published in the Nepal Gazette on Sunday, mobile phones with a price of more than $300 and motorcycles with an engine capacity of more than 150 cc will be prohibited from entering until August 30, as well as alcohol, tobacco products, diamond, color television sets over 32 inches. , jeeps, cars and vans, dolls, playing cards and snacks.
The ban, first imposed in late April, was expected to last until mid-July, the end of the current fiscal year, Xinhua news agency reported.
The government’s notice indicates that the ban is applied to protect the external financial position and balance of payments to prevent any imminent threat to the economy.
“As there has been no improvement in foreign exchange reserves, the government currently has no choice but to impose a ban on non-essential goods that have contributed to the outflow of foreign currency,” senior economist Keshav Acharya told Xinhua. .
“Despite its impact on revenue, we cannot allow the country to slide towards Sri Lanka by allowing unrestricted import of goods,” he said.
In the first 11 months of the 2021-22 financial year which ended on Saturday, Nepal’s foreign exchange reserves had shrunk by 19.6% to $9.45 billion from $11.75 billion at the mid-July 2021, according to Nepal Rastra Bank.
Central bank data also shows that there has been a slight improvement in remittances, the main source of foreign exchange earnings for Nepal, over the same period.