Pakistan’s footwear industry produces 411 million pairs every year with an annual domestic consumption of approximately 424 million pairs.
The Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association (PFMA) Chairman, Imran Malik, stated this during a briefing given to the Secretary Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Ahsan Ali Mangi. Mangi visited the Italian-Pakistan Footwear Technical Center (IPFTC) in Lahore on Thursday.
TDAP Director-General, Nudrat Hussain, was also present on the occasion and the officials were briefed on the progress and challenges of the footwear industry
Malik, who is also the Managing Director of Bata Pakistan, revealed that Pakistan annually imports 24 million pairs of footwear while only 11 million pairs are exported.
The PFMA Chairman said that Pakistan is ranked seventh among the top footwear-producing countries of the world despite having only a 0.1 percent share in global footwear exports. “The net worth of the global trade of footwear is $142 billion,” he said.
“In order to increase our world market share and increase productivity, the industry needs support from both the provincial and federal governments to make it a leading exporting sector of Pakistan, which holds great potential to generate more job opportunities domestically, earn foreign exchange, and reduce the balance of the payment gap,” Malik added.
Malik also presented the factors that are obstructing the footwear industry’s growth and achievement of full potential. He said that the government should allocate land to the PMFA on provincial levels to improve operational efficiency and that the government of Punjab should establish a designated industry zone for the footwear industry.
Citing examples from the Italian government, he said that the provincial government in Pakistan should provide a financial grant for the Italian-Pakistan Footwear Technology Center to aid the industry’s enhancement of its technical skills and to facilitate its production of international quality products.
Malik also said that the Punjab government should formulate a footwear policy to promote the footwear sector, particularly for SMEs that have the potential to generate more employment at the local level.
Among the other suggestions were the government accreditation of IPFTC testing laboratories, financial support to organize footwear exhibitions across the country for local manufacturers, provisions for SMEs to promote their products, and a reduction in the customs and duties on the import of raw materials for the industry.