(21 October 2015)
Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Wednesday said SAARC countries have abundant raw leather and they can dominate one trillion dollar global trade by joining hands.
SAARC countries will have to soften laws and attitude and stop discouraging each other to become a global hub of leather products, it said.
Pakistani leather industry is on the decline since long while exports have dwindled by 6.3 percent to 1.19 billion dollars since getting GSP Plus status, said PBIF President and Former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain.
He said that according to some estimates exports can fall by 20 to 25 percent during the ongoing fiscal while will reduce Pakistan share of 7.6 percent in the global leather trade benefiting competitors.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the current situation is result of energy crisis, increasing cost of doing business, tax issues, lack of skilled manpower, weak marketing, absence of upgradation by the industry and apathy towards latest international trends.
No government or institution has ever taken a serious efforts to promote leather sector providing jobs to over four hundred thousand people which has resulted in low value addition by the private sector.
The veteran business leader said that Pakistani leather is best in the world outside Italy but regional countries like India and Bangladesh are grabbing its share because of active support of their governments.
Potential of leather sector can be doubled in few years regaining the title of second largest export earner after textiles while disregard can make country an exporter of raw material only, he warned.