WB to support trade, facilitate transit with India
KATHMANDU, Sept 9: The World Bank (WB) has agreed in principal to support Nepal to enhance trade with India by developing required trade infrastructures and setting up a system that will smoothen transit of goods between the two South Asian nations.
A source at the WB told Republica that the support would be extended under Nepal-India Transit and Trade Facilitation Project (NITTFP), which is presently in a preparatory phase.
“On the back of host of problems in trade and transit of goods between two countries despite that we huge trade potentiality with the southern neighbor, the WB showed interest to support us in upgrading existing trade infrastructures and systematizing the trade and transit between two countries,” the source said.
The source said a study was underway to identify ways to implement the assistance effectively. However, the source declined to disclose the possible amount of assistance under the project.
According to the source the assistance includes widening of the 36-km long Narayanghat-Mugling road which links Mahendra Highway with Prithwi highway. Amid different hassles in the process of exporting and importing of goods, the assistance is aimed at introducing one-window systems in major customs offices in the southern part of the country.
“As we are frequently facing problems in shipping the goods through Narayanghat-Mugling road, which is crucial for the supplies of goods to capital, the WB´s support will be instrumental to remove the bottleneck in road transportation,” the source said.
The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) had few months back asked the WB to extend support in introducing the system and developing the infrastructures to facilitate trade with Asia´s third largest economy.
The WB is also supporting to introduce one-window policy in key customs- a move that would reduce the trading time and procedure with Nepal´s largest trade partner.
The WB assistance also includes introducing frequent monitoring of cargo along Kathmandu-Kolkata routes to ensure the hassle-free transit of goods along the sole transit route for Nepal for the trade with India and overseas countries.
The WB has also agreed to extend support for establishing Inland Clearance Depot (ICD) in Dodhara-Chadani area located in far western Nepal.
“We expect ICD will open up avenue to boost trade through one of the most backward regions of the country with the most populous nation of South Asia,” the source further added.
Similarly, construction of Container Freight Station near the capital is also included in the proposed assistance.
Under the assistance, WB is also conducting an in-depth study to suggest measures to simplify the bi-lateral trade to both the governments. More than two-third of Nepal´s total foreign trade is with India.
Nepal imported goods worth Rs 260 billion from India against the export of around Rs 43 billion during the fiscal year 2010/11.