Pasakha industries resume exports

Though the customs office at Jaigaon has moved to online taxation system, most of the work is still done manually

 Following a week-long halt in exports due to Goods and Services  Tax (GST) implementation hassles, industries in Pasakha have resumed business as usual.

Though GST formalities are still completed manually, more than 100 trucks that had remained stranded at Jaigaon were dispatched since Wednesday.

However, exports have not picked up well unlike in the past and industries are running into losses. Currently, only a few trucks move out of the border gate every day.

The Jaigaon land customs office has already moved to online taxation system but since it lacks facilities affecting efficiency, a major volume of consignments remain stranded every day even now.

The customs office has been accepting tax payments manually, which they later communicate to the customs head office through telephone or social media applications like watsapp and wechat.

Indian suppliers have now complied with the options offered by the customs officials last week to file tax manually until the new system is fully operational. These suppliers have also lifted the ban and started dispatching the consignments.

Suppliers now file GST manually when consignments pass through the customs checkpoint. The information meanwhile will be updated in the system online once the office is fully equipped.

Meanwhile, industrialists are handing over the consignments after receiving full payment for the products. “After that, we deal with the customs officials,” said an official from Bhutan Ferro Silicon Limited.

Some industries also fear that they will have to incur extra expenses while waiting for days at the customs gate therefore they pay up to Nu 2,000 a day to make sure that each truckload passes through.

Post July, Bhutan Ferro Alloy Limited has exported about 900 MT of Ferrosilicon to India. Bhutan Carbide and Chemicals Limited (BCCL) has also supplied a few truckloads so far. But the industrialists are still apprehensive about filing GST manually.

“Buyers are not eligible to get the refund unless the details of the consignment and the tax are entered in the system. The risk is high and one should be willing to take responsibility,” said Deputy General Manager (Marketing) of BCCL, Sandeep Ghosh.

BCCL used to export up to six truckloads a day prior to GST. Currently, their export volume has reduced drastically. Though the company sent its already stranded consignments, it has stopped exports for the time being because truckers need to cough up detention fees up to Nu 2,000 a day.

Bhutan Silicon Metals Limited (BSMPL) resumed exporting from Sunday after receiving orders from Indian suppliers. Since then, they have supplied 120 MT of product.

Halt in exports since July has impacted the company because it has to pay for raw materials without income from exports. BSMPL’s Marketing Manager Samdrup Dorji said that the company is now receiving supply orders but not as much as pre-GST. “The suppliers fear the implications of manual taxation in Jaigaon,” he said adding that had the situation been otherwise, the company could have exported around 500MT of Ferrosilicon by this time.

Ugyen Ferro Alloys Limited (UFAL) had exported only 100MT to India as of Wednesday and around 800 MT to Europe. “We might receive more orders after a few days,” said General Manager (Commercial) of UFAL, Manush Sharma.

President of Jaigaon Transporters Welfare Association, S.P. Shrivastav, said that suppliers are facing complications because the taxation system has not fully migrated to online. “The system is inefficient to clear our consignments. We need an efficient system to order more.”

Indian suppliers have also demanded that the customs checkpoint be opened near international borders instead of being only a kilometer from Bhutan in order to avoid complications while exporting to the country.

“We have requested the relevant authorities to install the customs checkpoint at the said area and we are hopeful that appropriate actions be taken,” said S.P. Shrivastav.

However, industrialists are optimistic that the issue will be resolved soon.

“We have been promised additional staff and equipment for the checkpoint to complete taxation formalities within the next 15 days,” said S.P. Shrivastav, “Otherwise we are going to stop the transit.”

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing