Nepal Govt set to give leg up to footwear products
Speaking at the closing ceremony of 12th Nepali Boot and Suit Expo, Commerce Minister Deepak Bohara said the government had planned to focus on the domestic products, mainly footwear, on the priority basis. According to him, the government would form a taskforce immediately for the capacity building to promote the products.
“Nepali shoes are one of the products that have potential to substitute imports,” said Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyaya.
Currently, Nepali footwear holds around 60 percent share in the domestic market, while more of such products are being exported. The sector exported products worth an estimated Rs2.5 billion last year.
Despite the expanding market, the sector is still heavily dependent on the imported raw materials. A shortage of skilled manpower is another challenge facing the Nepali manufacturers.
Rabin Kumar Shrestha, president of the Footwear Manufacturers Association of Nepal (FMAN), demanded a government support to enhance the skills of the manpower in the sector. According to him, there is a growing attraction towards the domestic products due to an improvement in the quality in recent days. “With a proper government support, the country could be self reliant in the footwear products shortly,” Shrestha claimed. Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of the Nepal Chamber of Commerce, said the products had helped reduce the growing trade deficit. “The government should promote such products that help substitute the imports,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nepali shoes manufacturers also said that the expo had boosted their brand image. Ram Krishna Prasain, managing director of Shikhar Shoes, reported that sales had been encouraging despite the unofficial Indian trade embargo on Nepal.
Pramod Kumar Mahato, managing director of Samrat shoes, echoed Prasain. Samrat Shoes sold around 100 pairs of shoes daily during the exhibition.
Homnath Upadhyaya, managing director of BF Dear Hill, said the expo served them as a platform to educate customers about the domestic products.
According to FMAN, around 100,000 people visited the week-long expo, with 40,000 making purchases.
Suraj Bajracharya, president of the Tailors Association of Nepal, said 700-800 pairs of suit and 1,000-1,500 shirts and trousers were sold during the event. The products made out of locally produced fibers were among the main attractions, he added.