Footwear cos hope to push sales

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Manufactures have come out with severalinitiatives to cope with unsold stocks and unfavourable business prospects

Dec 27, 2015-Paralysed with the impact of April 25 Great Earthquake and the blockade imposed by India, Nepali footwear manufacturers have started branding their products to push sales. With stocks stuck at their warehouses and the business prospective looking unfavorable, manufactures have come out with several initiatives.

The Shut and Boot Expo, one of those initiatives launched by the Footwear Manufacturers Association of Nepal (FMAN) and Nepal Garments and Stitching Entrepreneurs Association, has been garnering accolades from general public and has helped in revitalising the business scenario. The expo which kicked off on Thursday has witnessed a robust growth in sales and has become successful to captivate the public with a number of brands being displayed in a common platform.

Speaking at The Kathmandu Post round table on Saturday, FMAN President Rabindra Kumar Shrestha, termed the expo a success and stressed on the need of proper focus from the government to promote the footwear sector. “We have been working to bring this market out of depression. The government should be helping us in every possible manner,” Shrestha said.

Nepal Garments and Stitching Entrepreneurs Association President Suraj Bajracharya stressed on the need of providing skill training to the manpower working in the sector to derive the best out of them. “It will be a great achievement if we succeed transforming those involved in this sector traditionally into professionals,” Bajracharya said.

According to Nepal Garments and Stitching Entrepreneurs Association, there are around 18,000 entrepreneurs involved in the sector in more than 50 districts of the country.

Manoj Kumar Shrestha, general secretary of FMAN, said the footwear sector which is on the verge of becoming self-reliant has seen some life due to the ongoing expo. “This shows Nepali brands have established a niche among the people. The flow of people has provided some respite to us,” Shrestha said.

The ongoing expo has 90 stalls featuring footwear, garments and stitching stalls, among others. Of the total, 15 stalls belong to garments and stitching centres.

According to Hom Nath Upadhyaya, the immediate past president of FMAN, the footwear sector posts an annual transaction worth around Rs 30 billion and has an investment of Rs 15 billion. The sector is estimated of having provided job opportunity to 150,000 people. “Despite having such a bright perspective, industries today are compelled to utilize just 30 percent of its capacity,” Upadhayaya said.

According to Ram Krishna Prashain, managing director of Shikhar Shoes, Nepali footwear industry can climb to another level if the situation turns favorable. “We (Shikhar shoes) used to manufacture 200-300 pairs of handmade shoes initially. Today, we have equipments that can produce around 25,000 - 30,000. We can provide job opportunity to thousands of people,” Prashain said, adding that the sector can substitute foreign imports within two years if the government comes up with favorable policies.

Footwear manufacturers have suggested that the government should have a spread rate of at least 15 percent in the imports of finished products and raw materials.

Published: 27-12-2015 10:01

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