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Power outages spur tanneries to move outside Pakistan
Jul '11
Owing to continued power and gas outages, around 35 percent of the tanning units in Pakistan have set up their production base in Africa and China, while around 40 percent of textiles, garment and knitwear firms have already shifted to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other countries, acoording to Agha Saiddain, Chairman of Skin and Hides Pakistan Tanners Association (PTA) and a senior member of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Mr. Saiddain, who also is a Convener of LCCI Standing Committee on Environment, said that power and gas outages have substantially raised the cost of carrying on business in Pakistan.

During a meeting with Sajjad Saleem Hotiana, Secretary, Environmental Protection Department, Punjab government, he said that the level of foreign investments in the domestic tanning industry has become very small.

He further stated that if the Environmental Production Department (EPD) does not do away with its stringent strategies, particularly those hitting SMEs in Punjab, it would make the entire industrial sector to collapse.

He contended that there was no point in issuing notices to SMEs for setting up treatment plants, as it is not possible for a PKR 10 to 20 million tanning unit to set up a treatment plant involving a cost of PKR 25 to 40 million.

Mr. Saiddain recommended that EPD too should study and adopt moderate policies like that of Turkey, China, Bangladesh and India, as secluded thinking may prove harmful for the industry.

While citing the Indian leather industry, he said that with an intention to raise the industry's sustainability and to make it more eco-friendly, the country has implemented a development plan involving an investment of INR 191.3 billion.

He said that just like other countries, Pakistan Government too is under an obligation to equip the industry with infrastructure facilities like joint treatment plant and landfill sites. He suggested that the PTA establish industrial parks and clusters, in which it sets up joint treatment plants.

He suggested that the Government should shelve execution of EPA 1997 till the issue of gas and power outages is resolved, as continuous power supply is a pre-requisite for producing biomass in the tanks to reach BOD and COD levels.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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