Govt to promote Pakistan-made furniture at international markets


—Punjab minister says govt promoting wind, solar energy for uninterrupted power supply to industry

—PM’s advisor says rupee devaluation was necessary to fix economy

LAHORE: Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile and Industrial Production and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, Sunday said that the government was taking all possible measures to promote Pakistan-made products at local and international markets and special incentive packages would be given to strengthening manufacturing in furniture sector to boost the exports.

The advisor was speaking at the prize distribution ceremony at the concluding day of 3-day “Interiors Pakistan” international exhibition at Expo Center, organised by Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC). Dawood also appreciated PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq for holding a successful exhibition and said PFC deserved appreciation for promoting the culture of local brands to strengthen the national economy.

The advisor said further said that the good thing was that due to timely policies of the government, the economy of the country would improve in the months to come as Pakistani products were being exported. He added that with this exhibition, people would also come to know about the quality and designs of the products manufactured by Pakistani artists.

Abdul Razak Dawood said that workers of this industry had great skills and potential and if used properly, Pakistan could become the best exporter of furniture. He added that with the development of the furniture industry, it would be easy to meet local and international needs.

The advisor to prime minister later visited various stalls of the exhibition and praised the workmanship, quality and design of the various items on display.

On this occasion, PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq expressed his gratitude for visiting exhibition as chief guest at the concluding ceremony. He also assured the advisor that the business community of the country would provide complete support to the government towards implementing its reforms agenda and overcome the current economic challenges.

He further said that PFC is playing its due role efficiently for promoting of furniture brands not only inside the country but also abroad by displaying world-class innovative designs, suiting the aesthetic sense of the buyers. He added that Pakistan has a great potential to enhance furniture exports to the USA and Europe by developing good brands and business community should focus on the branding of products to promote business activities and improve exports.

Ashfaq said that Pakistan needs policies to protect the furniture sector so that the industry can grow in the correct manner. “Currently, we cannot compete with the Chinese market because of their prices, which is largely due to the availability of skilled labour.”

“China, for instance, has over a thousand technical schools and enrol at least 11 million people with the support of their government to ensure that they set up programmes that will support the local industry,” he added. He stressed the need for the government and the Pakistani people to increase their patronage of furniture products made by local industry.

The Pakistan Furniture Council chief said that furniture made in Chiniot meets more than 80 per cent of the local demand. This, combined with the handicraft industry, is employing around 50,000 people, he said and added that if the local industry expands, new opportunities of employment will emerge.

Moreover, Punjab Minister for Energy Dr Muhammad Akhtar Malik Sunday said that the PTI government was focusing on the promotion of wind and solar energy to ensure uninterrupted power supply to industry, and only productive and efficient energy projects will be prioritised to facilitate the masses.

Dr Muhammad Akhtar Malik said that it was the need of the day that both Diamir and Bhasha dams should be constructed on a priority basis to avert the feared water crisis in coming years. He added that the government was faced with multiple challenges but it will make organised efforts to face them successfully and lift the living standard of the people.

The minister hailed PFC Chief Mian Kashif Ashfaq for conducting a serial of ‘Interiors Pakistan’ exhibitions across the country in which local and foreign investors participated that helped the country boost its export volume besides disseminating the soft image of Pakistan in international markets. He also urged furniture producers to focus on the promotion of advanced research and development in their export-oriented sector for exploring and capturing the international trade markets as well.

Dr Malik reiterated the current government’s resolve to convert all government buildings into ‘green buildings’, saying that the Punjab Energy Department will set the example by first making its own buildings energy efficient.

At the closing ceremony, Abdul Razak Dawood presented certificates of participation to the stall holders while PFC Chief Mian Kashif presented the advisor with a shield.

Separately, speaking to media after the event, Dawood said that rupee devaluation was mandatory to fix the economy. He agreed that the devaluation will inflate the debt but there was no other option.

The PM’s advisor also said that devaluation helps the industry and creates jobs, adding that the government will substantially increase employment by the end of its tenure.