In the wake of the current incentive of GSP Plus Status for Pakistan, given by the EU countries, the leather sector needs to seize the opportunity and become an even greater export earner for Pakistan.

“Though the leather sector is a large export earner, having total exports of around $1.15 billion in 2013-14, yet the leather industry is not keeping up with regional competitors as China’s leather export growth is 47 per cent, India 40 per cent and Bangladesh 102 per cent respectively during the several years,” observed the newly elected central chairman of the PTA.

Addressing the AGM of PTA, the newly-elected central chairman Muhammad Musaddiq said that Pakistan is a strong international player in the leather apparel and accessories sector, controlling 7.6pc of the world trade while in the footwear sector, which constitutes around 75 per cent of the overall global leather industry, Pakistan has only had a negligible share for the past several years.

Besides central executive committee, the meeting was also attended by new SVC Hamid Arshad Zahur and VC Fazalur Rehman Sheikh. “The major reason for slow growth of this second largest export sector was mainly unfriendly policies of the government and persistent energy crisis and frequent loadshedding of electricity and gas.” He explained in detail that leather processing is continuous process industry and electricity shutdowns not only cause serious damage to leather process but also have adverse affects on its quality.

 Due to this serious problem, the leather sector is facing stagnation in its growth for last many years, he added.

Leather sector is providing jobs to more than one million people directly and indirectly and specially to weaker sections of our society. The sector has potential to grow three times if bottlenecks in shape of loadshedding and others are removed.

Musaddiq said that with little attention the government can raise exports of leather sector to $3 billion in next 2/3 years. Presently 95pc of tanned leather is exported in finished form and in the form of leather products such as garment, gloves, footwear and leather goods.

He said that the tanneries in Pakistan are capable of producing world class leather if this sector is patronised by the government by providing uninterrupted electricity and gas supply.