(APP) – Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq on Saturday, on behalf of furniture producers, presented a set of proposals for upcoming Federal Budget 2019-20 to the Advisor to the Prime Minister, Abdul Razak Dawood.
The PFC demanded allocation of special chunk of funds to boost furniture exports, besides giving the sector the status of a full-fledged industry.
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,” he added.
He said Dawood assured him of all possible support of the government in this regard and would provide due support and incentives in upcoming budget to strengthen furniture sector in Pakistan.
He also demanded the government for taking steps like providing fiscal support for skills training and up gradation of machines with a view to boost labour intensive furniture sector besides awarding industry status to this sector for boosting export.
He said the government should also work for establishing greater liaison with this sector to fully understand the market conditions and requirements of the industry needs for its protection, development and promotion.
Kashif urged the government to providing more visible support to furniture business in terms of simple and easily obtainable grants for exhibiting and traveling to trade shows and promoting Pak export as a success globally.
He mentioned that furniture worth around Rs4 billion was imported but unfortunately exports remained at Rs0.7 billion, which clearly showed the condition of the local furniture industry and stressed the need to promote local industry.
He said if the required support was given to manufacturers and brands to reach out to international market, Pakistan’s industry would contribute to the economy and furniture products would be considered leaders in the international market.
He said a good working environment would enhance the capacity of local workers, enabling them to compete internationally.
“The business community pinned high hopes on Prime Minister Imran Khan that stakeholders will be taken into confidence prior to the formulation of future economic strategies,” he said adding that PFC would fully support the judicious economic policies of the government aimed to steer the country out of the current economic quagmire.