LAHORE: Tanners have sought priority status for leather industry, saying it is one of the top three foreign exchange earners of the country, but has failed to tap its potential because of a host of reasons.
Talking to members of the Lahore Economic Journalists Association here on Wednesday, Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Central Chairman Agha Saiddain highlighted the issues restricting growth of the leather industry, which stood second in terms of quality in the world.
He said leather and leather product exports of China, India and Bangladesh rose by 46%, 40% and 17% respectively, but shipments from Pakistan dropped by 14%.
“Our industry contributes 4.42% to export earnings and 2.67% to manufacturing GDP. “Pakistan is at number two due to high tanning technology.”
Globally, exports of the leather industry have increased by 40% from $98 billion to $137.96 billion, but Pakistan’s exports have fallen by 14% from $1.220 billion to $1.048 billion. As a result, Pakistan’s share in global exports has come down from 0.76% to 0.49%.
Citing reasons for the decline, Saiddain said rising cost of inputs due to high inflation, dearth of incentives compared to competing countries, lack of government support, smuggling and export of live animals, export of wet blue leather and withdrawal of 50% subsidy on international fairs brought down exports.
In the leather industry, he pointed out, processing went on continuously, but frequent power outages and suspension of gas supply for five days a week increased the cost of production. He also sought a leather development plan like those introduced by India.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2012.