“None of the shops on New Road issue value added tax (VAT) bills, and when you ask for one, they say you have to pay more. For example, if one buys goods worth Rs 2,000, the shopkeeper hesitates to give a VAT bill; and if you insist on a VAT bill, they charge you Rs 2,600. I have heard that there is a taxpayer service office. Shouldn’t they be monitoring the market? Ask the chief of that office to purchase some goods on New Road, and he or she will find out for himself or herself. What is the job of the Inland Revenue Department? Shouldn’t it take action against such unscrupulous traders? Although there is no sense in registering a complaint at a government agency, I have sent this complaint as a responsible citizen of this country. I want to help the state through this complaint.”
This is one of the complaints received at the grievance handling desk called Bigool at the Finance Ministry.
Since Bigool (which is the Nepali term for “bugle”) was established at the end of November last year, it has received 64 complaints as of Sunday.
According to Finance Ministry officials, a majority of the complaints are related to taxes. Some of the complaints are about personal problems associated with government agencies and others are related to traders not complying with tax laws.
Similarly, a number of grievances are related to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) and economic issues, said the ministry.
One complainant wanted NRB to take action against banks and financial institutions charging fees and fines for providing different services.
Although NRB has stated that banks cannot charge service fees, banks do so anyway and also when issuing loans.
They charge an internet banking fee, SMS banking fee and balance certificate fee, among others, states the complaint.
Ministry officials said that they forward such complaints to the responsible government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Department if the case is related to taxes and to NRB if the case is related to banks and financial institutions.
The ministry said that the number of complaints received at Bigool was unexpectedly very small.
Madhusudan Pokharel of the ministry said that they were getting very few complaints in contrast to their expectations.
“One reason could be due to the reforms initiated so far or the influence of Hello Sarkar under the Prime Minister’s Office where there is a heavy flow of complaints ,” he said.
Bigool has been receiving an average of one complaint per working day.
During the one-month period from mid-November to mid-December, it got a total of 27 complaints by telephone and email.
During the following one-month period (mid-December to mid-January) it received 28 complaints . Since then, nine complaints have been registered as of Sunday.
Pokharel said he urged the general public to participate and file complaints about
the anomalies found in the areas where the Finance Ministry is involved.