KARACHI - The countrys cutlery exports declined to $90 million in 2008-09 against $130 million last year owing to the power and gas load-shedding and high petroleum products prices, The Nation learnt. It was learnt that the export of Pakistani cutlery sector, like other sectors, has been confronted an alarming deficit which had been, on an average, $180 million over the last five years. These items include table cutlery, stainless steel swords, daggers, hunting knives, pocket knives etc. It is to be noted that the export of the sector stood varied at $170 million, $180 million and $190 million over the past years, bore testimony to the significance and worth of the sector in the national economy. The cutlery industry not only fulfils local demands but also bring huge precious foreign exchange for the country, said Pakistan Cutlery and Stainless Utensils Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PCSUMEA) Chairman Hameed Akhtar Chadda, adding that the government should take stock of the situation and take some drastic measures to save the sector. He said that their immediate concern was unstable diesel prices which are currently at Rs 63 plus and it is not possible for the manufacturers to sustain their business at such prices, especially when there is a severe energy crisis and economic downturn. The diesel should be given to manufacturers at 50pc reduced rates from the actual price to help them compete in the international market, Chadda said and demanded that the subsidised rates should be charged on diesel only being to run the generators. Chadda said that the manufacturers current average cost of production is Rs 23.60 through generators, which is quite expensive, adding that if they get diesel on reduced prices the average would stay at 11 percent, a plausible one, besides ensuring uninterrupted power supply for 8 hours which is a must.