lahore - Pakistan’s carpet exports have witnessed a sharp decline of more than 60 per cent during the last six years as hand-made carpets export has dropped to $120 million from $300 million, depriving almost 0.5 million people of their employment.

The acute shortage of electricity, bad law and order, ever-soaring inflation, shortage of skilled labour force and high mark-up rate are the reasons of sharp decline in carpet exports. Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCMEA) Major Akhtar Nazir Khan Cooki (Retd) and Vice Chairman (North Zone), Kamran Razi in their joint statement said that industry is in dire need of the government help, which can provide it at some ad-hock relief on carpet export to revive the ailing industry, besides helping 0.5 million unemployed people to return to work. “The carpet sector cannot benefit from the duty-free access to EU market under GSP Plus status unless the government will restore zero-rated facility. A significant ratio of working capital of carpet exporters is already stuck-up in refund regime at a time when the carpet export is declining,” said Major Akhtar Nazir.

Akhtar Nazir highlighted that because of global recession and declining exports, the industry needs some concession from the government side in areas of credit financing and bank loans. Carpet sector had remained one of the main export sectors earlier. About 1.5 million people are affiliated with the industry, he added. He proposed that by holding special exhibitions for the carpet industry, the exports could get a huge relief. Kamran Razi blamed shortage of skilled labour, inefficiency of foreign trade missions and high cost of doing business in Pakistan for the crisis that the industry is presently undergoing. He, expressing concerns over massive decline in carpet exports, said that decline is primarily caused by foreign travel advisory, who are unable to convince the buyer to visit Pakistan, coupled with disturbed supply line. Small-scale factories in rural areas could help a lot to give a boost to the industry, he said. Carpet business will be very challenging in the future as we face a tough competition from India in the global arena and the cost of production in this business is constantly going up,” he added. Eastern Europe, China and South America are the potential regions of carpet export. There are some traditional workers of carpet manufacturing industry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, interior Sindh and Punjab, who need proper training and financing to maintain proper supply chain of the product, he proposed.  Kamran said that this small-scale manufacturing will not only improve supply side but will also create employment opportunities in small towns.