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Nepal: Women entrepreneurs told to raise value addition in exportTuesday, September 02, 2014 > 11:07:50
The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) on Sunday held a meeting with women entrepreneurs associated with the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association Nepal (FWEAN) to discuss on export potentials and transit issues with neighboring India and Bangladesh.
In the meeting, officials of the ministry requested women entrepreneurs to increase export of products with maximum value addition.
Only around 27.5 percent of Nepal´s total exports are completely made in Nepal, according to MoCS. This means around 72.5 percent of the country´s export is dependent on imported raw materials.
As part of its strategy to reduce ballooning trade deficit, MoCS is focusing on raising value addition in exportable commodity as well as supporting for development of products having competitive edge.
Ministry officials urged women entrepreneurs to start exporting agro products to Bangladesh.
Export figures show Nepal imported lentils worth Rs 1.88 billion, wheat worth Rs 83 million, oil cakes worth Rs 18 million, hide and skin worth Rs 11 million, fruits and fruit juices worth Rs 4 million, plants and plant parts worth Rs 3 million and vegetable seeds worth Rs 2 million in 2013/14.
“Though India is our largest trading partner, trade with Bangladesh holds great potentials,” Narayan Gopal Malego, secretary of the MoCS, said in the meeting.
Nepal´s trade with Bangladesh in 2013/14 accounted for only 2 percent of the country´s total trade.
Bangladesh is gradually raising export to Nepal. As a result, Nepal´s trade surplus with the South Asian neighbor is falling gradually.
MoCS has prioritized develop and promotion of niche products in tourism, health and education sector to reduce widening trade deficit with India. In the long run, it plans to reduce trade deficit by exporting hydropower and engineering services to India.
Due to Indian policy of importing primary goods from Nepal, it has imposed countervailing and excise duties on Nepali finished goods. “But we are lobbying for removal of countervailing and excise duties on Nepali export products.
Once the duties are removed, there will be more opportunity for Nepali traders to export products with high value addition,” added Malego.
Rajan Sharma, president of Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA), stressed for regional integration of seamless transport system. “Strong political will is needed to make process in talks for transit facilities,” added Sharma.
Meanwhile, women entrepreneurs have asked the government to facilitate them to export their products to neighboring India as well as other countries.
Speaking at the program, FWEAN President Rita Bhandari said entrepreneurs need different facilities like certification of agro products, value chain development to empower women entrepreneurs and reduce transport cost to destination countries.
“Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed in principle to allow exchange of Bangladeshi currency Taka in Nepal. This is expected to increase flow of tourists from Bangladesh in Nepal and facilitate easy payment for exporters,” she added. “But the agreement has yet to be implemented.”
Similarly, problems in transit, quarantine and payment are creating hassles for exporters, according to Bhandari.