LAHORE : Ch Muhammad Sarwar, Senator and former Governor Punjab Wednesday said Pakistan furniture industry has a big potential to dominate global markets with innovative designs and could make a substantial contribution of billions of dollars export annually if the government properly patronizes it on priority for boosting export of Pakistani handmade furniture.
He expressed these views during his interaction with Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq here today. Ch Muhammad Sarwar urged the government to establish greater liaison with this sector to fully understand the market conditions and requirements of the industry needs to protect, develop and promote.
He said his interaction is imperative in order to determine how our industries are faring and to see how they can better be supported through government interventions. He said Pakistan loses a huge amount of foreign exchange to importation; this we can be reduced by encouraging our local industries to grow by patronizing them.
He further said he will raise voice for the support of furniture industry in senate and will persuade his colleagues to make a comprehensive plan after consulting with stakeholders in furniture industry for giving it a status of industry to furniture sector in Pakistan in order to enhance its production capacity along with innovative designs.
Ch Sarwar said he would also ask the concerned authorities to provide more visible support to furniture business in terms of simple and easily obtainable grants for exhibiting and travelling to trade shows and promoting Pak export as a success globally.
On this occasion, PFC Chief Mian Kashif said “We constantly have to bring in expatriates to run the latest machines being used in furniture production and in this regard, PFC has signed an agreement with TEVTA to train woodworkers on modern scientific lines. PFC and TEVTA will hire jointly international trainers to train and educate woodworkers. He further said aside from the generic issues of infrastructure, lack of regular supply of electricity, transportation, not getting raw materials for production etc., the greatest challenge is in getting the skilled labour. “We recognize that there is a major gap in getting really skilled and qualified personnel for manufacturing. We have to sustain our economy with our own people.
He said we need policies to protect the furniture sector so that we can grow in the correct manner. We currently cannot compete with the Chinese market because of their prices which is largely due to the availability of skilled labour.
“China for instance has over a thousand technical schools, and enroll at least eleven million people with the support of their government to ensure they set up programs that will support the local industry,” he added.
Mian Kashif further added that patronage is very key. He stressed the need for the government and the Pakistani people to increase their patronage of furniture products made by local industry.
He said that if the required support was given to manufacturers and brands to reach out to international market, Pakistan’s industry would contribute to the economy and furniture products would be considered leaders in the international market.
Orignally published by INP