By Modnath Dhakal
Kathmandu, July 5: While the government-executed domestic products promoting projects like Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) failed miserably and collective branding of Pashmina and tea couldn’t take up, a fresh programme to promote ‘Make in Nepal’ products started on Sunday.
The public-private partnership (PPP) project is developed jointly by the government and Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), a federation of large industries in the country.
A web portal swadeshi.com.np is launched to serve the purpose of the project of spurring industrial sector growth. Titled ‘Make in Nepal-Swadeshi Campaign’, the initiative aims at registering about 1,000 industries with the Department of Industry (DoI) annually, creating 150,000 jobs, and achieving exports worth US$1.25 billion to US$4.6 billion in the next five years.
It has the objective to increase industrial share in GDP to 22 per cent by 2025 and 25 per cent by 2030, the year when the country aims to become a middle-income country.
Enterprises that want to participate in the campaign can apply through the web portal and a Performance Committee at the Swadeshi will conduct a compliance review and forward the document to the Operations Committee which will give approval to use the Swadeshi brand, a unique logo featuring one-horned rhino, one of the many identities of Nepal. The Rhino is already featured in the logo of Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) and is known to many foreign countries where Nepali national team played the cricket.
However, a summary report on the NTIS points out that without addressing the constraints on accessing the international markets, and resolving the sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers and intellectual property rights issues, Nepali products wouldn’t have product competitiveness in the foreign markets.
Any business entity in Nepal that is registered with the DoI or Department of Cottage and Small Industries or other authorities like local government are eligible to participate in the campaign and use the Swadeshi logo.
“Multinational companies are also eligible to be the part of the initiative for goods and services produced in Nepal,” read the eligibility criteria of the campaign.
Enterprises that have already obtained Nepal Standard or similar recognition by government-recognised bodies automatically qualify for the campaign, otherwise the quality of the products or services of the applicant company will be assessed by the Swadeshi Operations Committee.
President of CNI, Satish Kumar More, said that the major objective of the campaign is to increase the production and consumption of Nepal-made goods and services and create the base of self-reliant economy. “It aims at increasing the production of Nepali goods, marketing and boosting the consumption in domestic and foreign markets,” he said.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had inaugurated the project in March this year. CNI has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) for the implementation of the project, said the CNI in a statement. Enterprise from agriculture, handicraft, building materials, consumer goods, manufacturing goods, clothing and garments, infrastructure projects, travel and hospitality, financial and insurance services, information technology, energy and services can apply to have the facility of using the common brand and promote their products.
The product has come at a time when the entire hospitality sector is battered by the global COVID-19 pandemic and SMEs are suffering a loss which would take years for them to recover. The pandemic, coupled with the already existing policy, branding and quality challenges, has had a severe blow to the business and economic sector. However, there is a ray of hope as the country has crossed the milestone of US$1 billion exports for the first time.
According to the statistics of the Department of Customs, the country has exported goods worth Rs. 121.25 billion in the 11 months of the current Fiscal Year 2020/21 which is 37.78 per cent up from the FY 2010/20. Goods worth Rs. 88 billion were exported from Nepal last year.
– The Rising Nepal