|KATHMANDU, Feb 24: The government is making a fresh move to encourage public sector to use domestic goods in which Nepal is almost self-reliant.
The cabinet has already agreed in principle to endorse the proposed ´Directive to Increase Consumption of Domestic Goods´.
Nepal´s trade deficit surged to Rs 251.66 billion during the first six months of 2012/13, up by 30.4 percent compared to the figures of same period last year.
The ´Immediate Governance and Action Plan 2012´ also envisages encouraging consumption of domestic products.
“We will soon issue circulars to all government agencies and public-sector institutions urging them to use domestic goods. We are hopeful that this move will help rein in ballooning trade deficit,” Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers (OPMCM), said on Sunday.
The directive was proposed by the Ministry of Industry (MoI). After approving the proposal in principle, the cabinet has forwarded the directive to its Financial and Economic Infrastructure Committee.
Baskota told Republica that the government will encourage public sector to use locally produced stationeries, gift items, handicrafts, copper products, Thanka paintings and leather goods. Similarly, government offices will also be encouraged to take the service of local printing firms and ICT service providers.
“We don´t need to import such products as we are almost self-sufficient on them,” Baskota said. “We will soon be able to completely replace imports of these products if we get support of public as well as private sector.”
Baskota also said Nepal can completely replace imports of farm products such as cereal, vegetables, fruits and meat within five years if the government promotes massive commercialization in agriculture with the support of private sector.
Due to lack of extensive commercialization of agriculture sector, imports of such agro produces is growing up every year.
According to Trade and Export Promotion Center (TEPC), Nepal imported cereals worth Rs 9.6 billion over the first six months of current fiscal year, up by 92 percent compared to same period last year.
Similarly, country´s rice, vegetables and fruits imports skyrocketed by 244 percent, 61 percent and 61 percent, respectively. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, Nepal imported rice worth Rs 4.19 billion, vegetables worth Rs 2.5 billion and fruits worth Rs 620 million from India alone during the review period.
Though the Financial Act has made it mandatory for public sector to use locally produced goods even if their prices are 10 percent higher than imported ones, the provision has yet to be implemented effectively. Similarly, the act also allows the public sector agencies to procure domestic goods worth Rs 1.5 million without calling for tenders.
Published on 2013-02-24 01:02:15