The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has planned to work closely with the private and government sectors to help design and implement initiatives that will make the local marble sector globally competitive, through its Firms project which seeks to develop a dynamic and internationally competitive business sector in Pakistan.
In this regard, the USAID’s Firms project on Friday gathered stakeholders across the country for a joint consultative session. The session was aimed at identifying industries’ bottlenecks and designing a strategic action plan based on the demand driven initiatives to promote the sector. Representatives from the Board of Investment (BOI), Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) and USAID discussed the issues faced by the sector. The consultative sessions will facilitate them in launching joint initiatives in collaboration with the USAID’s Firms project, which will translate into improvements within the industry, increased exports and international competitiveness through substantive value addition.
Speaking on the occasion, USAID Regional Director Fernando Cossich said that through consultations with key stakeholders, his organisation will facilitate the private sector in achieving further growth in the marble and granite industry. Highlighting the potential impact of improvement in the marble sector, USAID Economic Growth and Agriculture Office Director William Patterson said that through analysing the current status of the marble value chain and strategic interventions, USAID seeks to partner with small and medium enterprises and other organisations to decrease wastage, increase value addition and create jobs.
It may be recalled that Pakistan is one of the main marble producing countries of the world with over 70 types of marble mined locally. Initial estimates indicate that over 300 billion tons of marble reserves exist across the country. Globally, marble and granite exports during the year 2009-10 were $62 billion of which Pakistan’s contribution is a meagre 0.096%.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.
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