MoCS master plan to boost export volume

KATHMANDU: Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) — for the revival of export — has drawn up a priority list which aims to boost the declining export of Nepali carpets and readymade garments. The list mentions 16 working projects that will support the enhancement of the country’s export sector.

“It is time for export promotion as the export sector is declining and remittance is falling too,” said MoCS joint secretary Surya Prasad Silwal adding that along with discussions regarding sustainable development of the economic sector, the ministry has forwarded the 16-point working project to the National Planning Commission (NPC) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

“All we need now is the

formation of a task force

with representatives from NPC and other related sectors to

develop a strategy for sustainable economic growth,”

said Silwal adding that the ministry has approached NPC and MoF with suggestions for export promotion.

Meanwhile, expressing dismay at the steep fall in export volume of carpets, Nepal Carpet Exporters’ Association (NCEA) president Kabindra Nath Thakur saidf carpet export fell by 40 per cent over

six months of the present

fiscal year. According to Thakur, the international

carpet market has been taken over by Indo-Nepal Carpet exported from India.

“Our orders now are being replaced by Indo-Nepal carpet. Due to circumstances like labour unrest, strikes and bandhs we are unable to make timely delivery and most of the orders are being cancelled,” said Thakur adding that now the raw material cost has also increased and they do not have facility of incentives. Apart from that, income tax dues and the bank interest are quite high. The government must give some relief in bank interest rates to make it be affordable by the export sector. “At a time when import is increasing, the high interest rate on export items has made it less competitive for us in the international market,” said Silwal.

Last year, the total export

of carpet was 8.64 lakh

square metres. As there are

no orders forthcoming,

NCEA has estimated that this year the total export of carpet will be not more than 6 lakh square metres.

Raw materials for carpet are imported from New Zealand and Tibet while chemicals come from Switzerland,

said Thakur. The major importers of Nepali carpet are Germany, America and Switzerland. In the mid 90’s, the industry employed almost one million people, accounted for a third of Nepal’s exports, was the largest supplier of foreign currency and brought approximately Rs 1300 crore into the economy each year.

Today, the industry has shrunk by over 70 per cent due to the unstable production situation, hostile business environment and local disturbances. This situation has led to a significant and continual decline in production standards since 2000, causing the quality of Nepal’s yarn production and weaving to fall dramatically. Because of this decline, Nepal is losing its hard earned reputation as a leader in the hand-knotted carpet industry and its valuable share of international end markets.