ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq, on behalf of the furniture producers, presented a set of proposals for the upcoming Federal Budget 2019-20 to Advisor to Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood.
The PFC chief demanded a special allocation of funds for the facilitation of furniture exports, adding that the government must also give this sector the status of a full-fledged industry.
Mian Kashif Ashfaq said that Pakistan needs prudent policies to protect the furniture sector, as it has the potential to attract a handsome amount of revenue every year.
“Currently, we cannot compete with the Chinese market because of their prices, which is largely due to the availability of skilled labour,” he added.
He urged the government to take appropriate steps, including fiscal support for skill training and provision of modern tools and technology, to boost the labour-intensive furniture sector, adding that the exports of this sector could witness a significant boost if it is given the status of an industry.
The PFC chief said that the government should strive towards establishing greater liaison with this sector in order to fully understand the market conditions and industry requirements pertaining to its protection, development and promotion.
Mian Kashif Ashfaq also urged the government to provide visible support to the furniture business in terms of simple and easily obtainable grants for international and local exhibitions and trade shows.
“Furniture worth Rs4 billion is being imported but unfortunately, exports remain at Rs0.7 billion, which clearly shows the condition of the local furniture industry,” he deplored, stressing the need to promote and empower to support the industry.
“If the required support is provided to the manufacturers and brands, the furniture sector has the capacity to contribute significantly to the economy, while our products are capable enough to attract big players in the international market,” the PFC chief maintained.
He said a good working environment would enhance the capacity of local workers, enabling them to compete internationally.
“The business community pinned has high hopes on Prime Minister Imran Khan that stakeholders will be taken into confidence prior to the formulation of future economic strategies. The PFC would fully support the judicious economic policies of the government aimed to steer the country out of the current economic quagmire,” he concluded.