KATHMANDU, Feb 22: The government is setting up an integrated mechanism to implement programs aimed at expanding the access of Nepali goods to international market as envisaged by the Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS).
The move comes at a time when implementation of different projects, including those funded by the donor agencies, has weakened due to lack of integrated channel of funding and proper implementation mechanism.
“We are making final preparation to set up a Trade Trust Fund -- a basket fund -- focusing on integration, identification and design of programs that are compatible with the NTIS to ensure effective implementation of the programs to be run under resources of the government and donor countries," Chandra Kumar Ghimire, joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), told Republica on Monday.
The government had unveiled NTIS to promote 17 commodities and seven services having high export potentials. Of the 12 commodities, cardamom, ginger, honey, lentils, tea, noodles and medicinal essential oil have been put under agriculture and food category, while handmade paper, silver jewelry, iron products, pashmina and wool products have been categorized as craft and industrial goods.
Ghimire said the proposed mechanism will help to attract more assistance from the donor agencies for programs aimed at promoting trade of Nepali goods, increase government ownership in the program and utilizing Aid for Trade (AFT) initiative of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the coming days.
The government is soon developing institutional mechanism for evaluation and development of projects aimed at promoting Nepali goods -- mainly those identified by NITS -- in the international market.
"There would be provisions for financial management, accountability and proper auditing system for the implementation of projects through the fund, which will be run by a high-level body having representation from both the government and the private sector," Ghimire added.
A technical committee will be established under the fund to approve trade related programs proposed by different sectors. Similarly, another panel of experts will be set up to evaluate and approve those programs.
"The program to be channelized under the mechanism will focus on investment on trade and development with greater involvement of the government on implementation aspect. It will also focus on promotion of foreign assistance," Ghimire added.
He also said investment in bankable projects to be implemented under the NTIS will be encouraged to lure more foreign assistances for the programs.
A taskforce to ascertain institutional, technical and financial modalities of the mechanism has already been formed. It has representation from the MoCS, Ministry of Local Development, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Nepalese Industries.
“The taskforce will submit a report on setting up of the mechanism and its functioning to the government," said Ghimire, who is also the coordinator of the panel.