Nepali products hardly used in public offices

Kathmandu, February 20

Though the government had made it mandatory for its offices to use domestic products over imported goods since 2013 even if Nepali products were more expensive, consumption of Nepali products in government offices remains disappointing.

Owing to ineffective implementation of the policy that encourages use of domestic products in public offices, the demand for Nepali products in government offices is still very lean, according to cottage and small industry entrepreneurs.

“The government introduced a law requiring its offices to compulsorily consume Nepali products with much fanfare in 2013. However, consumption of domestic goods in public offices is almost nil though it has been almost five years since the law was implemented,” said Dambar Prasad Regmi, general secretary of the Federation of Nepal Cottage and Small Industries (FNCSI).

The government had introduced the Directive to Increase Consumption of Domestic Goods, 2013 requiring state entities to use at least 50 per cent Nepali products even if they were up to 10 per cent costlier than foreign products.

The directive had listed 14 Nepali products to be used in state entities, including uniforms, furniture, medicines, electronic items, paper, woollen and cotton products, carpets, handicraft products, construction materials and dairy products, among others. Similarly, the directive has also stated that Nepali textiles should be given top preference for the outfits of bureaucrats. However, such domestic products should have acquired Nepal Standard (NS) recognition, as per the directive.

“Consumption of Nepali products among state entities would be crucial to promote consumption of domestic goods among the public as doing so would disseminate positive message about Nepali goods. However, government offices are reluctant to buy domestic products,” added Regmi.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Industry (MoI) officials too have acknowledged that the directive to use local products in public offices has not been implemented properly. Acknowledging ineffective implementation of such policy, Yam Kumari Khatiwada, secretary at MoI, said, “We could not give proper orientation to public offices on consumption of Nepali goods and the enforced law. However, private sector also seems passive in promoting domestic goods among government offices.”

She said that small and cottage industry entrepreneurs should develop the profile of their products and advocate them among state entities.

However, Khatiwada said that the directive to use local products among public offices will be strictly enforced in the coming days through new local and provincial governments.