Nepal Budget 2077/78 on ICT; By now most of us might already know that the budget for fiscal year 2077/78 (2020-21 A.D.) has been announced by Finance Minister Dr Yubraj Khatiwada with an aim of 7% economic growth. The budget of Rs. 1.474 trillion which is about 4% less than last years’ has allocated Rs. 7.13 billion for ICT sector which is more than last years’.
The major areas that this Nepal budget 2077/78 on ICT sector focuses on are:
The Finance minister has stated that cybersecurity will be of utmost priority in the coming year, hence its priority in the budget as well. The government plans to establish a separate “Cyber Security Center”, and implement other methods to uplift the level of the Cyber Forensic Lab for cybersecurity risk identification, impact mitigation, and emergency response, to make security faster and more secure.
Also Read: Data Breach and Cyber Security in Nepal
National payment gateway:
The country plans to implement its own National Payment Gateway from the fiscal year 2077/78. The payment system is to be made more secure, advanced and most of all digitized. This national-level system will be planned in a way to integrate all of the digital payments from VAT payments, Income Tax, excise duty, etc.
Digital Nepal Framework:
One nation, eight sectors, and 80 digital initiatives are included in the Digital Nepal Framework. These eight dimensions include digital foundation, agriculture, health, education, energy, tourism, finance, and urban infrastructure. This framework from 2018 features a 5-year plan to develop ICT sector of Nepal.
Honourable Finance Minister of Nepal has announced that the government will provide a special budget of Rs. 500 Million for startups with 2% interest to entrepreneurs who want to start their business.
Mobile App for Farmers:
It has been announced that the government will launch a mobile app for farmers which will provide updates on weather conditions, the market price of agricultural products, and agricultural technologies. The government plans to reduce the import of eateries by increasing agricultural productivity in Nepal.
The government plans to go digital on all its transaction within the next 2 years, several sectors also will enable digital transactions to provide ease to the population. To aid with this, the government plans to extend digital payment services.
National identity card:
The government is planning to provide a National Identity card to 1 core more citizens; the card will include biometric information and unique identification number.
Online driving license and passports:
The government is going to provide a driving license with digital means, with the provisions for vehicle tracking, GPS tracking for convenience, safety, and emergencies, as well implement the embossed number plate system. Also, the government is planning to implement an electronic passport within the next fiscal year, the on-arrival visas will also be provided online.
Nepal’s own satellite system launch:
Following the successful launch of the country’s first satellite, the government is now planning to launch Nepal’s own satellite system. However, judging by our country’s economic status, among other things, it might take a couple of years more to successfully execute this feat.
Although many institutes across the nation have already adopted for online education in this time of the pandemic, however, there is still the matter of those who live in areas where there is no easy access to internet services. Therefore, the government is planning to use Television as a platform for virtual education in addition to internet, as television is more accessible for most than the former.
The government plans to establish a National Knowledge Park in Lalitpur in the coming year, in addition to this, there are also plans for the establishment of an IT or communication village in every province.
Nepal Television to go international:
The oldest government-owned television channel of Nepal, Nepal Television will now be broadcasted over international televisions, as per the government.
Broadband Internet and 4G expansion:
As per the government, we can expect broadband internet infrastructure to deliver FTTH (Fiber internet) to the entire nation within 2 years. In addition to that, the 4G network will be given priority and will be expanded to every corner of the country.
Online records of personal events:
The registration of personal events which has been done in the local governments till date will also be digitized. The events which will now be recorded online are birth, marriage, death, migration, etc.
Ownership Tax on SIM and recharge cards.
The ownership tax which had been imposed on postpaid SIM and landline phones will now be imposed on prepaid SIM cards and recharge cards. This tax of 2% might prove to be a slight hindrance to the government’s plan to increase the accessibility of mobile networks across the country.
Increased Excise Duty on electronic gadgets:
But the irony part of this years Nepal Budget 2077/78 on ICT, While the 5% excise duty added to smart-phones last year has been halved to 2.5%, the government has now added excise duty on smart-phone accessories. Such as excise duty of 15% on smart-watches, 10% on earphones, headphones, and power banks, and 5% on digital TV, and other types of cameras have been imposed.
Also Read: How to get E-pass during lockdown?
Hike in the tax of Electric Vehicle (EV) import:
As of the fiscal year 2077/78, there will be a customs duty of 30% on a three-wheeler, and up to 80% on other different types of EVs. Despite the 50% discount on the EVs besides a three-wheeler, the massive hike in the tax of these environment-friendly vehicles from the past custom of 10% is a surprising move by the government. In addition to that, there is also an increase in the road toll on the import of the EVs from 1% to 5%. It seems like Prime Minister Oli’s dream of having about 20% of public electric vehicles on the roads of Nepal will be affected greatly by this decision.