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Nepal consumer market growing

Planned marketing, improving border infrastructure key to tapping it for BD exporters


Asjadul Kibria back from Kathmandu | Published: November 24, 2017 10:12:08


Bangladeshi manufacturers can tap the fast-growing consumer market in Nepal through proper marketing, according to the Bangladesh envoy in Kathmandu.

"There is a good potential for many consumer products in the Himalayan country," said Ms Mashfee Binte Shams, Ambassador of Bangladesh in Nepal.

"The Bangladeshi businessmen need to do planned marketing and promotion to export their products," she said while talking to the FE in Kathmandu on Friday last.

Currently, PRAN is exporting food and beverage items to Nepal and the volume is gradually increasing.

"The marketing strategy of the company appears well-planned and the company is using its experience of the marketing in north-east India," the Bangladesh envoy observed.

She also opined that there is a good market of furniture and informed that when Hatil first exported its furniture, it got huge positive response in the very first day.

Recently, electronic giant Walton starts exporting its electronic products, but it is yet to get good response.

"Unfortunately, our dealer is not capable enough of promoting the products," Uday Hakim, senior operative director of Walton, told the FE. "So, we are facing some difficulties in attracting the potential consumers."

While marketing is key to Nepal market, physical infrastructure and road connectivity are two major challenges to expand bilateral trade, as mentioned by the Bangladesh envoy.

She pointed out that inadequate facility in Banglabandha land port became a big impediment to both the exporters and importers of the two countries.

The main trade route of the two countries is Kakarvita (Nepal border)-Panitanki (Indian border with Nepal)-Phulbari (Indian border with Bangladesh)-Banglabandha (Bangladesh border with India).

The 44-km route is also the Indian transit route for both Bangladesh and Nepal known as Shiliguri corridor.

"Despite being an international land port along with immigration facility, the overall condition in Banglabandha is disappointing," Ms Mashfee added. "We have requested the ministries concerned to take some measures for the improvement of physical infrastructure. Otherwise, bilateral trade will not grow."

While bilateral trade was $37 million in the fiscal year (FY) 15, it came down to $27 million in the FY16 mainly due to a decline in both export to and import from Nepal.

When contacted over telephone, the chairman of Bangladesh Land Port Authority refused to talk over such matter directly and suggested approaching the public relations officer.

Later, the land port authority through their public relations officer informed the FE that Banglabandha land port is now running on BOT (Build-Own-Transfer) basis and the authority is aware of inadequacy of infrastructures.

The authority has already sent a letter to the private operator, asking them to construct adequate truck sheds and improve other physical infrastructures to facilitate the business.

The Bangladesh envoy in Nepal also mentioned that Nepal wants to use both Chittagong and Mongla ports directly, but currently Nepali trucks or vehicles could enter only the land port area.

"Once Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicle Agreement comes into effect, there will be no such restriction on movement of trucks or motor vehicles," she added.

asjadulk@gmail.com

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