By Rup Narayan Dhakal : There is now a kind of tension among the Nepali people because of the unilateral increment in tax rates following the announcement of federal, provincial and local level budgets in Nepal. All three tiers of government had held no pre-discussion before announcing the budget as well as the rate of various taxes. That’s why, the new budgets have created a kind of havoc among the people who only saw increment in tax-rate but not in its areas.
Taxation itself is not a bad idea but it comes as a burden when general people are hardly capable in clearing it due to their economic status. The government not only increased tax rates but also did it in excessive degree. At the same time, poor delivery in compare to chunk of collected tax is the nature of our government. It may be acceptable if the government delivers as per the ration of collected amount of tax but that is not happening in Nepal.
In such a context, many people have spoken out that the life of federalism is not so long as the federal to local government have focused their priority in collecting tax rather than in delivery. They voted for federalism however sometime recalled the statement of political leader Chitra Bahadur KC who has been extremely opposing the federalism in Nepal for few years.
Though Nepal sees the freezing of billion rupees budget every year and its spending capacity is not so satisfactory, the gap between the current expenditure and capital expenditure is also very frightening. People however would like to see the proper development works and good service delivery from the government side. Unlike that, the government has mercilessly imposed tax and done nothing to those government representatives who have bought and enjoyed million rupees vehicle from the people’s tax. On the other hand, the part of corruption, dual tax, unnatural tax and tax evasion also are the same kinds of problem.
When federalism now is in its infancy and the elected representatives act against the people’s aspiration, the durability of provincial system comes into questionable point. So, the important factor is how we could save our federalism which is supposed to be a dream of prosperous Nepal. To make that dream true, people now are expecting the good delivery from the government in efficient way.
How could we achieve that efficiency? Obliviously, the answer is in the hand of technology, yes with the online delivery system. If we utilize technology and go hand in hand with information technology, we could slash our current expenditure heavily. The fund-saving by using the technology could be invested in development works which are the ways to prosperity. If every government becomes techno-savvy and offers services online, that not only saves time and money but also paves the way to developed Nepal.
For example, Nepal Telecom’s web based online top up system for mobile, even card based recharge system and some e-commerce sites like eSewa, Khalti and iPay are making people’s life easier. At the same time, e-banking and application based smart top up including utility bill payment system offering by various banks are also being very useful in making people life smart. Meanwhile, online shopping sites and application based various services are making the people’s life advanced.
Similarly, Inland Revenue Office’s tax portal, Transportation Department’s online form filling system on vehicle licensing, NEA’s cooperation with private sector to receive electricity charges from the consumers, NEPSE’s initiative on share transaction from online system and the ASBA system offering by various financial institutions are some of the exemplary works of utilization of technology and online system.
But ironically, our government’s senior officials including other civil servants too seem reluctant in online base service delivery system. The reason may be that when government offices adopt and offers technology based online service system, there need to be deducted the numbers of staffers in those offices. That directly means the efficiency and saving of money as well as the loss of jobs. So, we however couldn’t neglect the technology even if the bureaucracy has an old mindset. And, people should not stop creating pressure on government to adopt the online service system as far as practicable that could save billion of rupees and our federalism too.