Govt asked to facilitate footwear industry

The Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association (PFMA) on Monday demanded the government to facilitate the footwear manufacturers in a better way, as performance of this sector is suffering due to unfavourable conditions as compared to the industry's competitors in the region.

"Our industry is also suffering due to long overdue held up of refunds in form of duty drawbacks, sales tax and income tax refunds," said PFMA Chairman Waseem Zakaria in a statement. He said that the exports data showed a significant upward trend during the last several months.

Zakaria said that 'Made in Pakistan' products were attaining a foothold at world level due to hard work done by the association members. "There are expanding market opportunities, and we are trying to deliver what we can," he said, and pointed out that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has recently notified revision of financing rates under the Export Finance Scheme (EFS) and revision of Long Term Finance Facility (LTFF) for the textile sector. "I request the higher authorities that our footwear manufacturers should also get this facility," he said.

Under the EFS, mark-up rate for textile sector products would be 3.5% against the previous 4.5%. The revised mark-up rate would also be applicable on outstanding loans granted under the scheme. Under the LTFF, the mark-up rates for the borrowers would be 5% against the previous 6% for a maximum period of financing up to 10 years.

Zakaria said that the government should introduce a good package under different relief measures to the footwear manufacturers so that this ever-growing sector should continue its good performance. In Pakistan, the footwear industry was considered to be the growth engine and employment generator, he said, adding that the government must consider this fact that about half a million people were associated directly and indirectly with this labour intensive industry.

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