Marble industry seeks government’s attention

ICCI chief urges government to solve problems on a priority basis

Our Correspondent July 16, 2015
The current practices are causing a major loss of stones as the standard wastage of marble in the world is 45% while it is 85% in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government should focus on resolving problems facing the marble industry on a priority basis considering the country has great potential to improve exports by upgrading technology and value addition, said Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Muzzamil Hussain Sabri.

“Pakistan is the sixth largest extractor of marble and granite in the world and reserves of these stones are estimated at around 297 billion tons. However, despite huge deposits and long-term export potential, Pakistan merely has a two percent share in the global market of marble products, which is negligible,” he stated.

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He said that the marble industry is employing over 30,000 workers but due to several issues that include a chronic power crisis, outdated quarrying techniques, inconsistent supplies of raw materials and lack of value-addition among others are major obstacles that need to be addressed to make the industry sustainable for growth.

Sabri said that China, Italy and many other countries are purchasing raw marble products such as slabs and blocks from Pakistan and re-export them after value-addition around the world earning much better returns. He said that the government should cooperate with marble industrialists in value-addition of marble products that will help in enhancing marble exports significantly.

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He said with value addition and improved quality, Pakistan could promote exports of finished marble products to Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Russia, USA, Europe and many other countries.

ICCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Shakeel Munir and Vice President M. Ashfaq Hussain Chatha said that hundreds of processing units are employing local manufactured machinery and stressed that the government should provide necessary support in upgrading and modernising such machinery to meet international quality standards.

They said handling, cutting, storing and transportation facilities should also be improved to enhance exports of marble products. They said the current practices are causing a major loss of stones as the standard wastage of marble in the world is 45% while it is 85% in Pakistan.

Read: Both India and Pakistan need to ease trade restrictions

They emphasised that the government should facilitate the marble sector businessmen in adopting state-of-the-art mining technologies to avoid losses and achieve better quality finished products.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th,  2015.

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Mrs Juicy Gossips | 7 years ago | Reply @A Peshawary: A telling synopsis of the situation. One of the excuses I had heard leveled some years back with regard to gemstone mining in Pakistan is that the most fertile areas for finding both precious and semiprecious stones were being controlled by extremists...thus preventing any access by any organized consortium..?
A Peshawary | 7 years ago | Reply @Mrs Juicy Gossips: In Pakistan businessmen are not entrepreneurs at all. Business community serve their own objectives and does not care for betterment of industry. Gems, marble & granite industry are case study of business & bureaucracy nexus for minting money instead research and development. These institutions were created with noble objectives for research and development; instead they have served the pockets of the vested interest. Can the organizations like PSDEC, GSDC and SMEADA along-with related business association; explain how have they utilized Billions rupees at their disposal? All these organization are involved with mineral industries in one way or another and obtained financial assistance of million of dollars without any tenable results. Rather, they are the multiplying factor to the issues of industry. A Peshawary
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