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Pakistan Can Earn Huge Foreign Exchange through handmade furniture products: Manzoor Ul Haq

Lahore : Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman & Vice President Manzoor ul Haq Malik Wednesday said local furniture sector attached great importance to the national economy and could make a substantial contribution of billions of dollars export annually if the 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 Manzoor ul Haq Malik appreciated the PFC for holding successful series of interiors Pakistan exhibitions in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.

He 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 the government should also 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. He said currently, the textile sector was the country’s largest industry in terms of exports, exporting $14 billion worth of goods annually.

Manzoor ul Haq said the second largest segment is rice, which generates $2 billion through exports, but Pakistan’s furniture exports stand at a meager $51 million. He said if the government extends its support to furniture companies, the volume of export could touch the figure of $ 5 billion for the next five years. He suggested that a programme for developing and promoting the furniture sector both in rural and urban areas could be feasible, and also stressed upon urgent need for implementing modern techniques which not only enhance productivity, develop skills of labourers and meet requirements of local and global markets.

PFC Chief Mian Kashif Ashfaq on this occasion said there is great potential in Pakistan’s local furniture industry but it is not being acknowledged by the government. He praised the furniture carving industry of Chiniot, Gujrat and Gojra and said that it requires the government’s support in order to get promoted internationally. “Rs4 billion worth of furniture is imported but unfortunately, exports remain at Rs0.7 billion, which clearly shows the condition of the local furniture industry,” said Ashfaq, 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 the international market, our industry will contribute to the economy and our furniture products will be considered leaders in the international market.

Throwing light on the functions of PFC, Mian Kashif Ashfaq further said the PFC was playing a commendable role in bringing the latest technical know-how in Pakistan for the promotion of local industry, manufacturing of quality products, and competitiveness in the international market.

In order to boost furniture exports, the government should have to take steps to curb ‘Sheesham’ wood smuggling in the garb of raw material, besides awarding the furniture a status of full-fledged industry,” Kashif stated.

Hamid Mahmood, PFC secretary, said that the council was planning a strategy to enhance exports and this sector could touch more than $850 million export target by the year-end if training  centers  are opened in the country for imparting modern skills.

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