This is to compare and contrast two worlds, two stories that seem the same but totally different experiences.
… sometime in 2014
I don’t remember the exact date, but, in 2014 someone shipped me a piece of gadget to Germany. I got a letter which asked to be present at the customs office in 3 days.
I went to the customs office. Had a talk with a super helpful lady, who helped me get my shipment. She then asked me to open the package, did an inspection of what was shipped. Finally, she told me the import duty which I had to pay for the shipment. In less than 15 minutes I was out of the office and my job was done.
One month ago someone again shipped me a piece of gadget. This time it was sent to Kathmandu, Nepal. FedEx told me that my shipment was at the airport customs and I had to get hold of an agent at the customs to get my shipment. They delivered me the documents which I could use to extract the shipment.
All good and fine. I talked to an agent and handed him my documents, which were to be used to extract the shipment from the customs. I hoped it to be a quick and painless process. Unfortunately, the introduction of an agent to the process keeps us in the dark; Now, I have no idea what’s going on in customs land.
Each of my discussion with the customs agent was basically that the shipment couldn’t be extracted and they’ll try again tomorrow. After ~20 days I pushed the agent a little and tried to get more details. According to them, someone had shipped gold via FedEx which is why customs were not letting any FedEx document be extracted.
I went to the customs office, and It was chaotic. It took me hours to find the right person to talk to. Basically, just to hear the same gold story again.
In the mean time, I mentioned this to FedEx as well, the only support they could give me was “I’ll talk to my superior and see how we can help you here”
Fast forward today, I still don’t have my shipment. Nepal Government still doesn’t have the customs duty they deserve. Lose-Lose situation. Unless, my shipment has been hijacked and a customs official has gifted it to his son. Then, someone does win here. Belive me, I have heard stories of that happening.
This process is seriously messed up and is the story of pretty much every government office in Nepal. The processes in offices are so chaotic, super ad-hoc and enough touch points to exploit a person. Which is also the reason why going to a government office is a dreadful experience every time.
Our systems are messed up, our processes are messed up and the sad part is that there is no one doing anything about it. The only place one can complain or state grievances is to a twitter handle (or bot) of HelloSarkar. It definitely gives one a feeling of being heard, but nothing happens in the end.
This one time, all I have is a rant. No solutions, No actions that can be taken to make things better. If there is something that we can do, please enlighten me. I’m all ears.