Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman and Vice President Manzoor ul Haq Malik said on Wednesday that local furniture sector attached great importance to national economy and could make a substantial contribution of billions of dollars export annually if government properly patronizes it on priority for boosting export of Pak-handmade furniture.
Talking to a delegation of Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) headed by its chief executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq here, he appreciated the PFC for holding successful series of interiors Pakistan exhibitions in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.
Manzoor Malik urged the government to establish greater liaison with this sector to fully understand the market conditions and requirements of the industry needs for its protection, development and promotion. He said the government should also provide more visible support to furniture business in terms of simple and easily obtainable grants for exhibiting and traveling to trade shows and promoting Pak export as a success globally. He said currently, the textile sector was the country’s largest industry in terms of exports, exporting US dollar 14 billion worth of goods annually.
He said the second largest segment was rice, which generates US dollar 2 billion through exports, but Pakistan’s furniture exports stand at a meager US dollar 51 million. He said if the government extended its support to furniture companies, the volume of export could touch the figure of US dollar 5 billion for the next five years.
FPCCI Regional Chairman suggested that a programme for developing and promoting the furniture sector both in rural and urban areas could be feasible, and also stressed the need for implementing modern techniques which not only enhance productivity, develop skills of labour and meet requirements of local and global markets.
PFC Chief Mian Kashif Ashfaq said, there was great potential in Pakistan’s local furniture industry which needed a greater acknowledgment by the government.
He praised the furniture carving industry of Chiniot, Gujrat and Gojra and said that it required the government’s support to get promoted internationally. He mentioned, “Around Rs 4 billion worth of furniture is imported but unfortunately, exports remain at Rs 0.7 billion, which clearly shows the condition of the local furniture industry,” he cited, while stressing the need to promote 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.
Mian Kashif said the PFC was playing a commendable role in bringing the latest technical know-how in Pakistan for promotion of local furniture industry, manufacturing of quality products, and competitiveness in the international market.
In order to boost furniture exports, he suggested, the government should take steps to curb ‘Sheesham’ wood smuggling in the garb of raw material, besides awarding the furniture a status of full-fledged industry.
On this occasion, PFC Secretary Hamid Mahmood said that the council was devising a strategy to enhance exports and this sector could touch more than US dollar 850 million export target by the year-end if training centers were opened in the country for imparting modern skills.