Private sector urges government to establish quality standards for imported goods

KATHMANDU: In response to the influx of low-quality imported goods adversely impacting domestically produced items, the private sector has called upon the government to establish stringent quality standards for imports.

Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), highlighted the pressing need for regulatory measures during a recent program organized by the CNI.

Agrawal underscored that while over 5,000 goods are imported into the country, the government has set quality standards for only 1,150 goods and services, leaving a significant gap in quality assurance mechanisms. He emphasized that the lack of a robust quality certification process has led to a proliferation of substandard imported goods in the market.

The government initiated the certification of imported goods in the fiscal year 2016/17, mandating quality certification for importers of several types of goods. Despite these efforts, Agrawal noted a concerning trend of inadequate monitoring, resulting in the continued importation of subpar products.

Last year, the government revised food safety standards, setting safe limits for nine types of heavy metals in food items. Offenders face penalties under the Food Act, including fines of up to Rs 50,000 or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.

Moreover, the government mandated the disclosure of importer and distributor details on labels of imported goods since mid-July last year. However, Agrawal pointed out the need for effective implementation and monitoring to ensure compliance with these regulations.

Highlighting the government’s commitment to promoting local products, Agrawal referenced the provision allowing government offices to prioritize the purchase of domestic goods, even if they are up to 20 percent more expensive than imported alternatives. However, he lamented the lack of tangible progress in realizing this initiative.

Agrawal proposed the establishment of an integrated web portal showcasing domestically produced goods as a means to promote local industries. He also called for government facilitation of new industrial corridors under public-private partnerships and urged resolution of ambiguities surrounding subsidies and incentives for private sector operations.

As the private sector advocates for stringent quality standards and enhanced support for domestic industries, collaboration between government agencies and industry stakeholders remains crucial in safeguarding consumer interests and fostering sustainable economic growth.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday May 8, 2024, 10:34:46 AM |

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