LAHORE: Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq has urged the government to award furniture sector the status of an industry so that exports of the sector could be enhanced and a reasonable foreign exchange could be fetched for the country.
Presiding over a meeting of the board of directors on Monday, he asked the government to provide fiscal support for skill training so as to facilitate the labour-intensive furniture sector.
“The furniture sector attaches great importance to the national economy and can make a substantial contribution through exports worth billions of dollars annually,” he remarked, urging the government to establish greater liaison with this sector to fully understand the market conditions and requirements.
Ashfaq said the government should provide visible support to furniture businesses in terms of simple and easily obtainable grants so that exhibitions and trade shows could be organised to highlight the export potential of this sector.
Currently, the textile sector was the country’s largest industry in terms of exports, exporting $14 billion worth of goods annually, he noted.
The PFC chief suggested that a programme to develop and promote the furniture sector both in rural and urban areas could be feasible, stressing the need to implement modern techniques, which would not only enhance productivity but would also enhance the skills of labourers in line with global practices.
He praised the furniture carving industry of Chiniot, Gujrat and Gojra, saying that it required the government’s support for international recognition.
“Around Rs4 billion worth of furniture is imported but unfortunately, exports remain at Rs0.7 billion, which clearly shows the condition of the local furniture industry,” he deplored. “If the required support is given to manufacturers and brands, Pakistan’s furniture sector would contribute to the economy and our products would be considered leaders in the international market.”