Recently the Council of Ministers approved of a criterion regarding the vehicular movement pass for industries. As per the criterion, the Department of Industries will be granting pass for industries while the Department of Commerce Supplies and Consumer Protection will be responsible for passes regarding goods transportation.
For the said pass and its access, the industries must be registered and have their taxes cleared and must be recommended by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC). After these criteria are fulfilled, then only the respective departments will investigate the applications and if satisfied provide the passes on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Was the decision really necessary though?
First of all, if the passes are only to be granted to industries that are registered and have their taxes cleared then is it not the government’s duty to make the taxpaying procedures simple and easily accessible? Doing so would let more companies pay their taxes to operate and provide services. Then again, is it really necessary for the government to restrict industries that have not yet cleared their taxes at this time of crisis? Has tax collection become more important for the government than providing essential services? This is not the right time to focus on tax clearance and registration as entrepreneurs have come up with new models of operation in the current situation. Similarly, new entrepreneurs have risen that provide services during these times. The government’s recent decision will prove to be a hindrance to entrepreneurs.
Second, how will the FNCCI and NCC recommend industries that require the pass for vehicular movement? Only industries member of these organizations will be recommended. What about industries that are not and yet to be a member of these organizations? Isn’t this criterion against the small industries and isn’t the government promoting a cartel by giving authority to these organizations for pass recommendations?
Even though the government’s move was to let industries operate, the provisions set hinder their operation. The government has yet again set another bureaucratic hurdle for the industries. It is mainly during times of crises that entrepreneurs are born. Entrepreneurs with their innovations tackle issues creatively and it is a well-known fact that innovations move faster than government regulations.
The government should remove such restrictions for the granting of vehicular movement pass as industries are well aware of the threats of the pandemic and were previously under operation adhering to the social distancing protocols.