Karachi : Chairman Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) Aziz Ahmed has demanded of the government to ban livestock export for an indefinite period in order to save leather sector in Pakistan and stabilize meat prices.
While welcoming the decision by ministry of commerce to ban exports of livestock until Eidul Azha, said that banning livestock exports for about three months is appreciable but it’s not enough to stabilise the prices of mutton and beef which have already crossed all barriers. He pointed out that meat prices have soared to double in just one year’s time and if the uncontrollable exports and smuggling would be continued, the day is not too far when consumers would be facing the prices of mutton skyrocketing at Rs1,000 per kg.
He said that due to unabated export and smuggling of livestock from Pakistan to Iran, UAE, Afghanistan, etc. has created acute shortage of raw material for not only leather industry but woolen industry, milk and dairy industry, footwear industry and other allied industries are being deprived off raw material
“The exports of leather and leather goods have declined to over 30 per cent during current fiscal year and the declining trend id continuing and seems that country may be not able to cross $1 billion exports of leather during next fiscal”, Aziz warned.
The vast scale smuggling as well as export of live animals is hitting hard the tanner industry of the country by declining 30 per cent of the leather goods export since 2007 and the live animals were primarily being smuggled to Iran and Afghanistan, as well as to Dubai under the garb of live animals export, allowed by the government.
He said that as many as 200,000 live animals were being smuggled per month, which was ulti-mately making it very difficult for the leather industry to meet the leather goods’ export orders. The smuggling, that has also caused abnormal raise in the meat/beef prices.
He said the leather goods export had been declined from $ 1.22 billion in fiscal year 2007-08 to $ 867 million in 2009-10. Some 63 per cent decrease had been recorded in annual animal hides collection on the eve of Eidul Azha during last five years, as only 6 million hides had been collected in 2010 as against 16 million hides in 2006, he maintained.
He pointed out that regular supply of hides/skins from routine slaughtering showed a steep decline of 66 per cent during last five years.
The declining trend in the leather industry had also deprived 200,000 individuals of their jobs during the year as many tanneries have closed down or reduced their production to about 50 per cent, he added.