Only nine products received quality certification in FY2015/16
KATHMANDU, June 30: It has been revealed that very few industries are applying for Nepal Standard (NS) Mark -- the quality assurance certification issued by the government to different products.
Statistics of the Nepal Bureau of Standard and Metrology (NBSM) shows that 60 types of products from only 195 industries have acquired NS Mark from so far. The figure shows that only nine industries acquired NS certification in Fiscal Year 2015/16, compared to 26 firms in Fiscal Year 2014/15.
Consumer rights activists say that the NBSM figures prove that industries have been compromising on quality of their products. “Industries are reluctant to acquire quality certification from the concerned government office. Similarly, the government has also failed to state clearly what types of industries and products needs to get quality certification mandatorily,” Jyoti Baniya, president of Forum for Protection of Consumers' Rights, said.
Baniya also informed that some industries acquire NS certification for their products through political influence. “Such practice has raised question on the quality of even those products that have acquired NS mark,” added Baniya.
The government has made it mandatory for producers of 11 products, including PVC cable, iron rod, GI wire, LPG cylinder, and LPG regulator, among others, to acquire NC certification. Other products can acquire NS certification voluntarily.
An official of NBSM said many industries were reluctant to acquire NS certification as they would have to meet certain quality standards to apply for certification which will increase their cost of production ultimately making their products expensive in the market.
Meanwhile, industrialists have said that NS certification alone would not authenticate the quality of product. Stating that domestic industries are committed to maintaining quality standards in products, Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) said: “Majority of domestic industries have adopted 'quality by design' modality to ensure that their products meet all quality standards. This modality means that quality issues have to be checked and considered from the first point of production instead of determining the quality of finished product and authenticating it through quality marks and certificates.”
Sharma also said that the government should provide at least basic support to industries so that they can adhere to quality standards. “The government is ignoring industries that are making significant contribution to national economy and adhering to quality standards, but providing different incentives and facilities to foreign brands operating here,” he added.
According to NBSM, 49 cement industries, 31 food industries, 18 iron rod industries, 21 PVC cable industries and 6 LPG regulation industries, among others, have received NS certification.