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Energy crisis damaging leather industry

Pakistan Tanners’ Association Central Chairman Agha Saiddain has said that the energy crisis, especially in Punjab, has caused substantial damage to the third major foreign exchange earning leather industry, as the sector has become uncompetitive both locally and internationally.

He said this while addressing an emergent meeting of the PTA Central Executive Committee, which was attended by the country’s leading tanners. He said that the majority of tanning units are facing complete closures due to zero availability of gas and prolonged power breakdowns in the province as use of furnace oil for boiler heating has become unviable.

“The government can save this important industry by offering a relief package by up to five percent as provided in Bangladesh and India so that the industry could tackle the setbacks caused by power and gas outages,” he said. “The tanning industry is on the verge of collapse and needs government’s support for its survival.”

He added that in India financial support was provided to the tanning sector during global recession.

An amount of Rs253.43 crore was provided to the tanning sector for technology up-gradation, modernisation, and capacity creation and this amount was further enhanced to provide a grant of Rs5 million to SMEs in the tanning sector and an amount of Rs20.00 million for large tanneries in India.

He further added that India has announced 12 leather development plans, whereas in Pakistan, no such scheme was introduced. He said that in 2009-10 the government appointed M/S J.E. Austin as consultant to develop Pakistan’s leather strategy. The consultant charged $1 million and submitted its report to the Ministry of Production and Ministry of Commerce.

He maintained that the strategy developed by the consultant who charged $1 million to the government was finally dumped to the Ministry of Production and nobody knows its fate. He expressed his deep disappointment on this and mentioned it as a major reason for the decline of this industry.

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