- ‘Local industry is suffering at the hands of smuggled Iranian tiles and high manufacturing cost’
ISLAMABAD: With proper facilitation from the government, local tile manufacturers can not only add value to the economy through employment generation and transfer of technology but can also save precious foreign exchange wasted on the import of finished products, said Masood Jaffery, the Chief Operating Officer of Shabbir Tiles and Ceramics Limited (Stile) CEO, on Thursday.
He said Stile made a huge investment to introduce a new range of products so that customers have access to quality tiles, including metallic surface finish, granilia surface finish and anti-slip matt surface finish.
He pointed out that for FY 17-18, the local industry’s production stood at 45,205,000 square metres (SQM), with Shabbir tiles producing 8,315,000sqm, adding that tiles’ imports for the same period were 25,222,000sqm.
“With international accreditation for quality, Shabbir Tiles has enormous export potential that needs to be exploited but some challenges like unfair imports and rising energy and manufacturing costs amid low ITPs are hurting this potential,” he added.
The CEO noted that the cost of manufacturing (labour, energy, and raw material) has increased drastically in Pakistan, while Pakistani rupee faced huge devaluation against the US dollar.
Moreover, he said, the local tiles industry has been suffering at the hands of smuggled Iranian tiles and tiles imported at lower valuations (ITPs), as these significantly hurt the local manufacturers.
“Tax and duty evasion due to smuggling and low ITPs is depriving the government of huge revenues. For example, the government’s loss in terms of duty on Iranian tiles is Rs5.2 billion annually,” Masood stated. “Only ‘Made in Pakistan’ approach can counter economic challenges, create jobs and save foreign exchange to uplift the economy,” he added.
He requested the government to incentivise not only the local tile manufacturers but other local industries so that imports could be reduced and exports could be boosted.
“The industry is fighting for its survival and the future of hundreds of thousands of employees is under threat. We urge the government to support us by resolving our issues so that we can play our part in improving the economy,” he said.