Nepal's footwear imports double as exports stagnate

March 29, 2019 - Nepal

Nepal’s import bill on footwear increased over two fold to Rs 5.33 billion between July 15 last year and February 15, primarily because of a significant rise in low-cost imports from China, according to statistics released by the Nepal Rastra Bank. Nepali footwear exports, however, plunged by 18.2 per cent to Rs 726.5 million during the same period.

Nepal imported footwear worth Rs 4.47 billion from China in the first seven months of the current fiscal, according to a report in a top newspaper in Nepal.

The cost of domestic footwear production has increased this year with rise in labour costs, Krishna Kumar Phuyal, president of Footwear Manufacturers Association Nepal, said.

Traders say the burgeoning middle class buyers in Nepal now prefer foreign goods. Local manufacturers too have been focusing on expanding their domestic market shares instead of targeting the export market.

Despite government incentives for the sector, footwear reportedly shows dismal performance against expectation.

There are around 1,500 footwear manufacturers in the country. (DS)