Increased domestic production is the only option to bridge widening import-export gap, according to finance minister Shankar Prasad Koirala.
Addressing Leather Goods & Footwear Expo-2013, here today, he said that it would be possible only with joint efforts between private sector and the government.
Though the government had brought a policy to use domestic products – even if they are 15 per cent more expensive than the imported ones – in the government agencies, it has not been implemented, Koirala said, adding that the government is ready to discuss on how to implement it.
The government has planned Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Biratnagar, Bhairahawa and Panchkhal and is ready to facilitate leather goods and footwear manufacturers find space in SEZs, he added.
The minister also asked the manufacturers to come up with a clear plan on what should be done to be self dependent on leather goods and footwear in the next five to 10 years. "The entrepreneurs must have a detailed plan on how to get raw materials in the country and increase skilled manpower for the sustainability of the industry," he added. "The economic revolution is possible only with the joint efforts of both the private sector and the government and the government is ready to co-operate the private sector."
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) president Suraj Vaidya, on the occasion, asked the government to check the smuggling of goods to help make the domestic products competitive. "The government must also provide tax break for the raw materials to increase domestic production," he added. "The CTEVT should also help produce skilled manpower for the local industries."
Vice president of the FNCCI hailed government effort to promote the private sector.
"The open and porous border, energy crisis, and lack of skilled manpower have hit the domestic industries," said Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers Association president Homnath Upadhayay.
The 10th expo – which runs from December 24 to December 30 – that has more than 90 stalls of the domestic goods and footwear manufacturers is also promoting the collective logo "Made in Nepal' to help check the imported leather goods and footwear that have been sold in the market in the name of domestic.There are around 700 leather goods and footwear manufacturers that cover around 60 per cent of the market demand.