Tax not increased on electric vehicles: Finance Minister


By A staff Reporter,Kathmandu, May 31: Finance Minister Dr. Prakash Saran Mahat said on Tuesday that tax had not been increased on the import of electric vehicles.

 Defending the budget of the upcoming fiscal year 2023/24, the Finance Minister said that the aim of the budget was not to discourage the use of electric vehicles.

"Whoever said tax is increased on electric vehicles, said it wrong. The government only has rationalised tax rates but not increased," he said, adding that rationalisation does not discourage the use of electric vehicles. 

Customs duty has been increased by 15 per cent on entry-level electric vehicles of 50 to 100 KW, which are widely imported and used in Nepal. Finance Minister Dr. Mahat also claimed that there was no truth in the allegation that the government retreated from the policy of promoting electric vehicles. 

"A petroleum-run vehicle of the same level is heavily taxed. Compared to that, it is much less," he added. He also clarified that there was no possibility of going back to petroleum vehicles again.

He spent almost all the time defending the budget of Rs. 8.25 billion he allocated for the lawmakers of 165 election constituencies across the country. Defending the step for the allocation, he said it was the need of the hour. 

"Elected members of the House know better about the actual needs in their areas, it is the reason we allocated budget for them," he said. Stating that it was a sort of equal distribution, Finance Minister Dr. Mahat said the MPs would be recommending projects under this programme.

He also defended the charge of scattering money to the parliamentarians saying that the programme would address local needs. "This is not the MP Development Fund, it is the Parliamentary Constituency Infrastructure Development Programme," he said. 

Dr. Mahat also assured that the budget allocated for the programme would not be misused because there would be a contractor assigned for the work under known legal provisions. "There will be bidding for the work which will maintain transparency. MPs are only supposed to make recommendations," he said, adding that the MPs could not work by themselves. However, the work procedure for the programme has not been made yet. 

Finance Minister also admitted that the size of the budget was big. "I do admit that the size of the budget is larger but the mandatory responsibility compelled us to bring a bigger budget.”   

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