Crisis ridden leather sector sends SOS to the govt

Sameer Nazir
KARACHI:
The leather and leather garments’ exporters have shocked over government’s anti-export move of slapping duty on import of hides and skins. The Chairman, Pakistan Tanners Association (S.Z), Fawad Jawed in his SOS to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Finance said that while the leather sector is facing a crucial phase, the government has imposed duty on leather sector’s main raw-material, hides and skins without any justification which would result in total collapse of leather sector in Pakistan. Fawad while endorsing PTA’s Central Chairman Sheikh Saqib Masood, he said that despite negative growth rate of Pakistan, the government has imposed duty on import of hides and skins, without realizing that the leather sector is crisis ridden industry due to various reasons including non-supply of water, expensive electricity and gas shortage, etc. due to which Pakistan is fast losing its market share to its arch rival India.
The ongoing energy crisis and frequent shut downs of electricity coupled with expensive skins and hides has made us unable to continue with the business. The shortage of skins and hides has already been created due to unabated export and smuggling of livestock which has also endangered livestock within the country and all allied industries are suffering badly. He said that despite the repeated assurance by the government for a strict check on livestock smuggling no step has been taken yet and population of cows, buffalos and goats is decreasing alarmingly.
He said that the country is lagging far behind in the region. China’s export stood at $28.17 billion in 2007-08, exports of India stood at $4.87 billion in same period, Bangladesh’s exports at $0.379 billion in same period and Pakistan’s exports stood at $1.220 billion in 2007-08. But in 2012-13, exports of China stood at $42.40 billion, India at $5.90 billion, Bangladesh at $1.3 billion and exports of Pakistan stood at $1.142 billion with a negative growth of -6.39 percent and if the situation continues the country would further lose its market share to India, China and Bangladesh.
He demanded of the government to immediately withdraw the import duty on raw material of leather sector which has been imposed sans any wisdom, otherwise country would lose precious foreign exchange the leather exporters are earning.