Contradictory figures on exports

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 30:

At a time when the ministry of finance says that the export growth rate stands at a mere 3.6 per cent in first nine months of the current fiscal year, industry secretary Bharat Bahadur Thapa today stated that export growth stands at a 15 per cent over the same period. Thapa told this at a programme held jointly by Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) and Handicraft Association of Nepal (HAN). However, Thapa also said that the growth rate in the export sector was not satisfactory. Business sector people have also been saying that exports have gone down heavily as export commodities such as carpet, readymade garments, textiles and pashmina have plummeted massively. Ministry of finance figures show that export is increasing at the rate of 3.6 per cent in the current fiscal year, compared to 6.7 per cent last year, which has created serious setbacks to the national economy.

Business sector people said that due to the removal of quota system for readymade garments to US, internal conflict, difficulties in customs procedures, high customs duties and unclear policies, the export sector has been hit hard. Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of NCC said that external trade has been affected due to various difficulties. Shrestha said that in the context of globalisation, the ministry activities should be market-oriented and transparent to boost the export sector. President of Central Carpet Industries Association (CCIA) A G Sherpa also said despite carpet being an important component for earning foreign currency and having a major share in exports, its export has plummeted hugely in recent years due to problems such as child labour issue, lack of market, weak laws and policies, and decline in exports to US markets.

Similarly, general secretary of Garment Association of Nepal (GAN) Udaya Raj Pandey said that export of readymade garments to US, following the removal of quota system has recorded a downward trend, dropping off by over 50 per cent. Earlier, export of readymade garments were worth over $ 200 million, but in recent years, it has gone down to mere $80 million, said Pandey. Export of handicrafts products has gone down by over 40 per cent, said businesspersons associated with HAN.