Saturday, August 24, 2019

Sales summit concludes

Kathmandu, Aug. 23
The fourth Sales Summit 2019 was organised in the Capital on Friday with the theme ‘Selling needs to go beyond tradition’.
About 260 professional from various sectors like banking and financial institutions, cement, fast moving consumer goods, hospitality and steel participated in the event. Senior Vice-President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Shekhar Golchha inaugurated the one-day programme. “The quality of product and services is what matters in the selling process,” he said.
Keynote speaker Sales Expert and India’s first PassionPreneur Dev Gadhvi informed about five unconventional sales techniques to increase sales by five times in  the 21st century.
Arniko Singh, Managing Director of Space Time Network, spoke about the importance of scripts in selling. “If there is a script for selling, the chances will be high to close a deal,” he said, adding that most of the organisations do not have sales script rather they have features to tell while selling.
There was a panel discussion session on the topic ‘emerging issues of sales: Challenges and Opportunities’.
Aarti Rana, AGM of Global IME Bank, Upendra Pradhan, Head of Sales & Marketing of Dabur Nepal, Mukunda Ghimire, Director of Dinesh Soaps and Household Pvt. Ltd. were the panelists.
The panelists discussed emerging issues of sales like credit crunch, growing competition, retaining manpower, difficult to get good people, maintaining the product price, balancing price and cost.

Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 24 August 2019. 

Indian authority recognises NFFL certificates

Kathmandu, Aug. 22
Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) has decided to recognise the standards certificates issued by the National Food and Feed Laboratory (NFFL) of Nepal.
The Indian food safety and regulation body is ready to acknowledge the NFFL-issued quality certificates on 21  food, fruit and vegetable items. They include juice, jam, jelly, pickle, candies, instant noodles, biscuit, infant food, milk, skimmed whole milk powder, concensed milk, icecream, sweet curd, processed meat and meat products, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, tea, coffee, honey and fresh vegetables.
Both the authorities had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the Nepal-India Joint Commission Meeting on Wednesday.
Both the labs are internatially accredited. The decision will have positive impact on Nepal’s export of food and other agricultural goods.
In absence of such recognition, Nepali agricultural goods were facing non-tariff barriers in the name of lab testing and quality.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) said that the southern neighbour had decided to recognise Nepali lab certificates as per the Indian Food Safety and Standard Regulation, 2011.
Nepal had proposed the FSSAI to acknowledge the NFFL certification of more than four dozen products, including processed food items, fruits, vegetables and medicinal  herbs.
Spokesperson of the MoICS Nabaraj Dhakal said that the Indian authority enlists the products to its Plant Quarantine List after it was satisfied about the pesticides risk analysis (PRA). The PRA is necessary to check the pesticide residue and to find out whether it was under the level to be good enough for human consumption.
The Ministry of Agruculture and Livestock Development and Ministry of Forest and Environment are in the process to create the PRA of the proposed goods.
The Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) has welcomed the Indian decision and expresesed satisfaction over the bilateral understanding. “The decision will help in trade facilitation between the two countries,” it said.
 Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 23 August 2019. 

Leaders raise cross-border connectivity with Jaishankar

Kathmandu, Aug. 22
Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who was in the Capital to participate in the Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting, paid a courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Thursday.

He also paid courtesy call on the leaders of various political parties. He had called on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday. Jaishankar met leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), main opposition Nepali Congress, Socialist Party and Rastriya Janata Party- Nepal.

Issues of bilateral relations, political situation, development and mutual interest were discussed during those meetings.

He met with NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba and Central Committee member Dr. Shekhar Koirala and discussed about inundation, Pancheshwar Multi-purpose Project and enhancing connectivity between the two countries, said Foreign Affairs Advisor of Deuba, Dr. Dinesh Bhattarai.

During the meeting, Deuba said that the inundation had become a menace for both the countries and they should work together to resolve the issue. He also said that the inundation in Nepal’s Terai was due to the Indian structure along the border.

According to Dr. Bhattarai, Deuba also inquired about Pancheshwar and suggested further discussion between the two countries in order to help Nepal reduce the ever growing trade deficit.

Jaishankar met with Co-chair of Socialist Party and former Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Co-chair of the same party Upendra Yadav. Dr. Bhattarai had expressed happiness over the Indian support to enhance cross-border connectivity.

RJP-N coordinator Raj Kishor Yadav said that his party had asked India to seriously think about the flood and inundation as it had created challenges and caused loss of lives and property in both the countries.

In response, Jaishankar said that India was also serious about addressing the inundation and floods, and both the countries were in close communication for the same, Yadav informed.

Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 24 August 2019. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Nepal-India agree to develop cross-border logistic facilities

Kathmandu, Aug. 22: Nepal and India agreed to continue upgradation and maintenance of infrastructure and logistic facilities at major border crossing-points for facilitating trade and transit between the two countries. 
The fifth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission on Wednesday in the Capital consented to early conclusion of the review of treaties and agreements related to the trade, transit and rail services. The meeting is co-chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Indian counterpart Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. 

The two countries were also reviewing the Trade and Transit treaties and Railway Service Agreement and infrastructures like cross-border railway, Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) and dry ports to facilitate the movement of goods and people. 

Poor border infrastructure including container depot, laboratories, customs and quarantine facilities and cumbersome processes have increased the time and cost of trade for Nepal thus making Nepali products less competitive in the international markets. 

Earlier, Special Secretary (Logistics) of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India N. Sivasailam had said last month that the southern neighbour was positive in allowing the Nepali importers to change the freight destination point at the Nepal-India border. He had also expressed commitment to resolve the issues related to documentation and logistics in Nepal’s trade with third countries as well. 

Gyawali and Jaishankar emphasised the importance of tourism in socio-economic development and agreed to enhance their cooperation in tourism sector, particularly in the context of Visit of Nepal year 2020. 

India has also agreed to provide additional air entry routes to Nepal. The two countries expressed hope that the discussion, which were underway between the civil aviation authorities of the two countries would yield positive results. 

The Joint Commission expressed satisfaction over progress in three new areas – Raxaul-Kathmandu Electrified Rail Line, Inland Waterways and New Partnership in Agriculture - agreed during the visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to India in April 2018, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA). 

The meeting noted that inundation was a serious problem for people living in border areas and underlined the need for addressing the issue due to inadequate drainage provisions that obstructed the natural flow of water across the border. 

“The Joint Commission agreed to take action on the recommendations made by a joint tam comprising official from both side who had visited twice the inundation prone areas along Nepal-India border and continue monitoring of those areas,” said the MoFA.

The meeting deliberated on connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources sectors, culture and education. It also exchanged views on Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal-India Relations and Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950. 

It expressed happiness over the momentum generated in the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations following the exchange of high-level visits in the past two years. 

According to the MoFA, the Joint Commission expressed happiness at the progress made in the bilateral projects, such as Motihari-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Products Pipeline, four segments of Hulaki Roads, and post-earthquake reconstruction of private housing in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts.
It expressed happiness over progress made in Jayanagar-Janakpur and Jogbani-Biratnagar sections of cross-border railway projects and Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar. The Joint Commission agreed to expedite the early completion of remaining agreed projects.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on food safety and standards. 

Likewise, India handed over a cheque of 807.1 million Indian Rupees (Rs. 1.29 billion) to support the construction of the Postal Highway in Terai. India had committed Rs. 8 billion support to Nepal for the Postal Highway. Four packages of the highway are ready for inauguration. 

India also handed over a cheque of Rs. 2.45 billion to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) for the reconstruction of private houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts. Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over the cheque to the NRA Chief Executive Officer Sushil Gyawali. 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Gyawali and his Indian counterpard Dr. Jaishankar witnessed the handing over of the cheques and signing of the MoU. 

Dr. Jaishankar paid a courtesy call to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. He had warm and in-depth conversation with the PM, tweeted Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. He is scheduled to pay a courtesy call to President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Thursday. 

The External Affairs Minister of India is scheduled to depart for New Delhi on Thursday.  
Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 22 August 2019. 

Heifer to support in developing slaughterhouse

Kathmandu, Aug. 21
Heifer Nepal has announced to develop five abattoirs in collaboration with five city administrations.
The facilities will be built in Biratnagar, Bharatpur and Pokhara metropolitan cities, Butwal sub-metropolis and Kohalpur Municipality in Public Private Producer Partnership (4P) model.

“The public sector will invest to establish the slaughterhouse infrastructure as a part of its social responsibility of ensuring the availability of hygienic meat to its citizens,” said Dr. Tirtha Raj Regmi, Director of Programmes at Heifer.

The producers and meat entrepreneurs will separately form their investment companies which will establish a private company with the majority of the shares owned by the investment companies of the producers.

The private companies will manage and run the abattoir.
Concerned five municipalities and provincial governments have allocated US $3 million for infrastructure while producers and meat entrepreneurs’ investment companies have committed $2 million as equity for the development of the facilities.

Animal Slaughterhouse and Meat Inspection Act of Nepal, 1999, provisions a mandatory establishment and operation of abattoirs for production and sales of hygienic meat.

“But due to lack of proper domestic supply, poor backward linkages, and inadequate public-private collaboration model, several government and private sector initiative for establishing abattoir have failed and the act has not yet been implemented,” said Dr. Regmi.

Country Director of Heifer Nepal Dr. Shubh Narayan Mahato said that his organisation had facilitated the dialogue between the producers, meat entrepreneurs and local and provincial governments on technical and business aspects of running a modern slaughterhouse.

He said that the 4P model would ensure proper supply for sustainably running the abattoir and provide equitable income to small holder farmers.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Chakrapani Khanal said that it was unfortunate that the country that involved about two thirds of its people in agriculture had been importing food in recent years.

“Agriculture has high potential to resolve unemployment problem, but we have failed to utilise the potential of the sector. The ministry has given priority to modernisation and commercialisation of agriculture sector,” he said.

Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 22 August 2019.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

New action plans aims to reduce trade deficit by one-third

Kathmandu, Aug. 20

With an aim of increasing export and downsizing export-import ratio to 1:10.5 in the next five years, the government has developed a ‘national action plan to reduce trade deficit’. 

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS) said that the action plan had ministry-wise responsibilities and targets to meet the ambitious goal. 

The export import ratio stands at 1.14.6 in the fiscal year 2018/19 with Rs. 97.11 billion exports and 1,515.67 billion imports. The ratio was all time high 1:15.3 in 2017/18. 

Although the government had formulated and implemented Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) in 2010 and 2016, the country’s trade has not shown positive results in those years. 

The products included in the NTIS also failed to witness the growth in export which drew widespread criticism from the private sector and other stakeholders. 

In the meantime, Nepal also failed to diversify its international trade, both in terms of products and destination markets. Exports and imports both are more concentrated to India while trade that had been surplus with the countries like the United States of America has flip-flopped. 

Approved by the Cabinet on May 24this year, the action plan targets to develop products of comparative advantage and competitive capacity and promote export to substitute goods’ import.

It also aims to improve the quality of’ made in Nepal’ products, monitor the harmful goods and create industrial as well as trade infrastructure. 

The action plan also proposes to forge greater collaboration and coordination among at least 15 government agencies, and private sector when required. 

The responsibility of overall coordination and monitoring rests upon the Prime Minister’s Office and the MoICS. Progress review of the action plan will be conducted at the National Development Action Committee meeting and the secretary-level meting every four months. 

National Planning Commission (NPC), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Aviation and Civil Aviation, Ministry of Energy, Water Sources and Irrigation, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ministry of Forest and Environment, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security and Nepal Rastra Bank are the other concerned agencies supporting to implement the action plan. 

“These agencies have specific responsibilities to implement and meet the targets. Overall objective is to create a favourable investment climate with industrial security, supply uninterruptible energy, expand  the latest technology, discourage the import of luxury goods and agricultural products,” Buddhi Prasad Upadhyaya, Under-Secretary at the MoICS, said at an interaction on the action plan. 

Madan Lamsal, editor of New Business Age, suggested signing investment agreement with potential source countries and creating brand Nepal. He said that the country should focus on trade in services. 

Joint-Secretary of the Ministry Madhu Kumar Marasini said that there was a need to increase attention to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). “SMEs are the backbone of most of the economies around the globe. Nepal has 144,000 SMEs which are employing about 1.7 million people,” he said. 

According to him, a focal point will be created in all agencies that have responsibility of implementing the action plan to facilitate coordination and put the policy in practice. 

Secretary of the Ministry Kedar Bahadur Adhikari said that investment facilitation was the priority of  the government.

Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 21 August 2019. 

Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting today

Kathmandu, Aug. 20
The fifth Meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission will start in the capital Wednesday afternoon.
The two-day meeting of the high-level mechanism of the two countries will be jointly chaired by Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and his Indian counterpart Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. They will lead the delegation of their respective countries.
The Joint Commission Meeting will review the overall state of bilateral relations, and various areas of cooperation such as connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources sectors, culture, education and other matters of mutual interest.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting will also discuss about the report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Nepal and India, all the past treaties and agreements and offered recommendations to strengthen the bilateral trade, cultural, political and economic relations between the two countries.
The Nepal-India Joint Commission was established in June 1987. Its meetings are held alternately in Nepal and India. The last meeting of the Joint Commission was held in New Delhi in October 2016.  
Published in The Rising Nepal daily on 21 August 2019. 

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