Panel urges MoS for ‘aggressive’ strategies to boost trade

Kathmandu, August 18

The Parliamentary Committee on Commerce, Industry and Consumer Welfare Relations today directed the Ministry of Supplies (MoS) to adopt some ‘aggressive’ strategies to boost the country’s export and narrow down the ballooning trade deficit.

Stating that the work performance of MoS has not been satisfactory in terms of promoting Nepal’s trade, lawmakers in the committee meeting today said that MoS should immediately work towards policy reforms and enhance inter-ministerial coordination to promote exports from Nepal and discourage imports.

As per the statistics of the government, Nepal’s exports rose by merely 6.35 per cent to Rs 74.71 billion in fiscal year 2016-17, while the country’s imports had surged by a whopping 27.02 per cent to reach a staggering Rs 984.07 billion.

“Though the government introduced various programmes and policies to reduce export and diversify the country’s trade, foreign import has continued to rise every year while the export of domestic products has remained less than satisfactory. This clearly shows the government’s inability to make tangible achievements in boosting country’s export,” said Sudharsan Khadka, secretary of the committee.

The committee also directed MoS to immediately address problems related to tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and fully digitalise Nepal’s trade procedures and mechanisms.

Similarly, the meeting also directed the government to facilitate domestic traders in substituting Indian liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bullets by assuring that Nepali traders get necessary permits from Indian authorities to operate their own LPG bullet tankers within one month.

“Though substituting Indian gas bullets with the country’s own gas bullets would have positive impact on domestic fuel transportation and overall economy of the country, it seems that this process has not been well facilitated by the government,” said another lawmaker, Subash Chandra Thakuri.

Such direction from the House panel has come at a time when domestic LPG traders have been claiming that hundreds of their own LPG bullets have not been able to start transportation of cooking gas due to lack of non-explosive certificate from the Indian authorities.