Leather export falls by 30 percent to $86 million

LAHORE: Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) has demanded the government to impose a ban on export of all kinds of wet blue leather including wet blue, raw hides and skins to ensure availability of raw materials for the local leather industry.

Khurshid Alam, Chairman of PTA, said these are basic raw materials for leather industry for meeting their committed export orders for fetching precious foreign exchange for the national exchequer. But due to unchecked export of raw hides and live animals leather export has been facing a continuous decline.

He said that in 2007-08 the export was $1.22 billion, which has fallen to $86 million in 2010-11, showing a decline of 30 percent, He said that government should take strict measures to control smuggling of livestock to Afghanistan and Iran through borders, as the beneficiaries on the both sides of the border of Afghanistan are inflicting heavy financial losses to the national exchequer.

He said that more than 30,000 animals are being smuggled to Afghanistan on a daily basis, with full connivance of customs officials. He said due to shortage of basic raw material, including wet blue and supply of skin and hide, the country is losing precious foreign exchange in termination of export orders, which is already in a declining trend up to 30 percent.

He said leather industry is providing jobs to half a million people but is under serious threat due to government policies. He said that PTA has been protesting that export of live animal should be banned whereas smuggling of live animals from Peshawar, Chaman and Taftan demands prompt measures from the government.

He said the country is having 34.3 million cattle, 30.3 million buffaloes, 59.9 million goat and 27.8 million sheep, producing 13 million hides and 47.4 million skins annually. He added that in addition to producing milk and meat, the livestock produces 14 by-products namely hides, skins, wool, hair, edible oils, horns and hoves, bones, fats, dung, urine, heads and trotters and glands.

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