“Though the leather sector is a large export earner, having total exports of around $1.15 billion in 2013-14. Yet the industry in Pakistan is not keeping up with regional competitors such as China’s leather export growth is 47%, India 40% and Bangladesh 102% respectively during the several years,” observed the newly elected central chairman of the PTA.

Addressing the AGM of the PTA, the newly-elected central chairman Muhammad Musaddiq said that Pakistan is a strong international player in the leather apparel and accessories sector, controlling 7.6% of the world trade while in the footwear sector, Pakistan has only had a negligible share for the past several years.

Besides central executive committee, the meeting was also attended by new SVC Hamid Arshad Zahur and VC Fazalur Rehman Sheikh. “The major reason for slow growth of this second largest export sector was mainly unfriendly policies of the government and persistent energy crisis and frequent loadshedding of electricity and gas.” He explained in detail that leather processing is continuous process industry and electricity shutdowns not only cause serious damage to leather process but also have adverse affects on its quality.

Due to this serious problem, the leather sector is facing stagnation in its growth, he added.

The leather sector is providing jobs to more than one million people directly and indirectly and specially to weaker sections of society.

Musaddiq said that with little attention the government can raise exports of leather sector to $3 billion in next 2-3 years. Presently 95% of tanned leather is exported in finished form and in the form of leather products such as garment, gloves, footwear and leather goods.

He said that the tanneries in Pakistan are capable of producing world-class leather if it is supported by the government by providing uninterrupted electricity and gas supply.

Source: The Nation