LAHORE: Tanneries have observed around 40 per cent decline in hides and skins business during three days of Eidul Azha mainly due to recession in international leather market and downward trend in prices.

Industry experts said that falling prices of raw hides and skins in world as well as local hide markets have caused huge decline of about 40-45 per cent in terms of values of total collection of hides and skins during 3 days of Eid-ul-Azha as the final data is still coming.

Giving a rough estimate, they said that country have collected about 7.3 million hides and skins during Eid-ul-Aza worth approximate Rs6-7 billion versus Rs11-12 billion of previous years mainly due to falling prices of raw skins. Pakistan Tanners Association chairman Muhammad Musaddiq stated that during the qurbani season tanners usually purchase bulk quantity of hides and skins each year valued of about Rs10-12 billion but due to economic recession in international leather market i.e. in China, Turkey and other European Countries and depreciation in their currencies the demand and export of leather from Pakistan has reduced which have adversely affected the buying of hides in peak season of Qurbani.

The PTA chairman estimated that economic activity of around Rs155.18 billion is generated on Eid days, including Rs146.3 billion through animal sales and Rs7.38 billion through purchases of hides and Rs1.5 billion through allied industries.

Musaddiq said that tanneries are being supplied very limited gas, besides power suspension in Punjab, asking the government to exempt the tanning industry from gas and power loadshedding at least during the hot and humid climate. “This is necessary for processing hides before getting putrefaction which entirely damages the raw hides. The skins, being a perishable item, cannot be stored without processing which requires uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas.”

Chief Executive Leathertex and PTA Sacrificial Animals Hides and Skins Committee Chairman, Azam Malik pointed out that hides are basic raw material for leather industry to make leather garments, bags, footwear, ballets and gloves. All these goods are exported that generates substantial amount of foreign exchange. Azam Malik said that industry desperately needs the uninterrupted supply of electricity and gas to enable the leather manufacturers for smooth processing of these perishable hides and skins within the humid climate of the country, otherwise manufacturers would be in great problems in processing of these items.

Azam Malik demanded the government to grant special status to the tanning industry and ensure supply of gas and electricity. He said that dealers will suffer billions of rupees loss, as the rate of hides is constantly decreasing due to climate conditions and power unavailability.

Azam Malik was of the view that hides are generally damaged due to hiring of unprofessional butchers. Moreover, about 12 per cent of the hides are wasted because of lacking appropriate knowledge of their preservation.

“This is necessary for processing hides before getting putrefaction which entirely damages the raw hides.

Former PTA chairman Agha Saiddain pointed out that if the charity and welfare organizations had taken due care in slaughtering of sacrificial animals, used proper salting immediately after collection of hides and skins as well as made quick delivery to the buying houses the leather industry would transform them into finished leather qualitatively mostly for export.

He pointed out that due to slow cash flow and liquidity problems of leather industry from the Pending Customs Duty Drawback Claims, Sales Tax Refund Claims & Income Refund Claims, is severely hampering to purchase raw hides and skins during Eid-ul-Azha.

He feared that due to poor purchasing and improper curing, a large number of the hides and skins may get damaged during this Eid.