Govt to introduce directive to raise consumption of domestic products
KATHMANDU, Jan 5: The government is formulating a directive on ´Consumption of Locally Produced Goods´, which once promulgated will make it mandatory for public sector entities to procure locally produced goods even if they are marginally expensive.
“We have already started working on the new directive that will pave way for public sector entities to procure domestic products. We hope it will provide cushion to local producers against competition posed by cheap imports,” said Yam Kumari Khatiwada, joint secretary and spokesperson at the Ministry of Industry (MoI).
Although the content of the directive is still under discussion, officials say the document, once prepared, will lay down a comprehensive guideline on the process of procuring local products.
This, however, is not the first time that the government had floated a plan to promote consumption of local products. Earlier, the government had asked public entities to consume domestic goods even if they were expensive than imported supplies by 10 percent. But the plan was never implemented. Then last fiscal year Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai raised the cost bar to 15 percent. At that time, he even vowed to enforce the program effectively, but in vain.
“We have now realized that it is the lack of clear directives and specific guidelines that were hindering the effective implementation of the program,” said Krishna Prasad Devkota, spokesperson at the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Following this assessment, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) instructed the concerned authority to come up with a guiding document that could provide a legal base for the public sector entities to implement the plan.
Based on the instruction, the MoF developed a framework of the directive, which was recently handed over to the MoI for further discussion. Once finalized, the MoI would forward the directive to the cabinet for final approval.
The government has long been trying to promote consumption of domestic products mainly on the request of the private sector. The umbrella body of the private sector, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, has argued that if the government was able to set an example, people too would be encouraged to follow the suit.
The private sector has also been organizing ´Made in Nepal´ expos to promote consumption of local products and spread the message that goods manufactured in the country are equally good.