Kathmandu: The government has removed the additional 10 percent customs duty on book imports. A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday decided to remove the fee.
The budget of the previous fiscal year had made an arrangement to levy additional 10 percent fee on books and newspapers imported from abroad. This has affected book imports in the local market for about a year and a half. New books published by international publishing houses were rarely found here.
Former Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada has imposed 10 percent customs duty on books published abroad saying that the customs duty on finished goods and raw materials will be different. Earlier, books and magazines brought to Nepal for printing were subject to 5 percent customs duty, but printed books and magazines used to come at a discount.
Many Nepali publishers used to print and bring books to Indian printing presses. The press operators had been drawing the attention of the government saying that it would be cheaper to import paper from abroad than to buy and print it in Nepal.
There were protests in various cities of the country including Kathmandu against the book tax. Some youth groups protested by reading a book in Patan Durbar Square.