Pakistan Furniture Council urges Government to impose ban on Import of Furniture
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) has urged the government to impose immediate ban on the import of furniture in a bid to provide new lease of life to this industry as well as to fully exploit its potential for extracting foreign exchange.
Pakistan imported furniture worth Rs 1.69 billion in 2015-16, which is a mere consumption of the hard earned foreign exchange, said PFC Chief Executive Mian Muhammad Kashif Ashfaq. He of the view that the import of furniture could create a viable threat of unemployment in the local furniture industry. Keeping in view the huge potential of the industry to grow, the PFC head said, if the Pakistani furniture industry is given special attention on government level, it could contribute significantly to the GDP and employ numerous people with varying skills in specialist furniture. “Despite its contribution to the Pakistani economy, furniture manufacturing suffers from lack of recognition at a political level,” he opined. “PFC is also continuing its work to develop a Pakistani presence in more countries and to act as the focal point for Pakistani furniture designers and manufacturers to enter international market.”
However, he said that it requires concerted efforts to ensure that raw material is available, skills are taught and quality control is achieved. The furniture export at the present level is very nominal and is far behind than the actual potential, he added.
The export of furniture during July 2016 was recorded only at $334,000 while it was $341,000 in July 2015 and $571,000 in June 2016, thus showing a decrease of 2.05 percent and 41.81 percent respectively.
Ashfaq said Chiniot is well known for its beautiful wood-carved furniture and brass inlays and the city alone meets 80 percent of furniture demand in the country. “Pakistani craftsmen have the skill to create exquisite bespoke pieces but standardizing that production to meet the requirements of international markets requires input from the Pakistan Furniture Council,” he added. The PFC chief said Pakistan’s wood industry is well developed and captures 95 percent of the country’s total market for furniture, adding that the country has more than 700 units of wooden furniture, with Chiniot, Gujrat, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi being important centres.
He said more than 80 percent of the furniture demand in the country is met by the Chinioti furniture, adding that this industry, combined with the handicraft industry, is employing about 50,000 people.