Govt, private sector urged to raise forest cover to 25pc

LAHORE: The newly elected President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Irfan Iqbal Sheikh Tuesday urged the government and private sector to join hands for raising its forest cover from 5 per cent to 25 per cent to meet the ever growing needs of furniture industry in Pakistan.

Talking to Mian Kashif Ashfaq CEO Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC ) here today Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said currently, furniture and local industries, are experiencing serious supply shocks which are not only impeding their further growth and but also adversely affecting their international competitiveness.

As the global economy is expected to be more challenging this year In wake of Covid 19 he urged the furniture industry to remain resilient by innovating, adopting technology as well as diversifying export markets in order to sustain demand in the long run. “We have to overcome challenges to strengthen our market share; we must continue to produce innovative and market-oriented products to meet challenging times,” he added.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said in the absence of enough supplies of wood, cheaper furniture made of fancy and laminated sheets of chipboard has flooded the local market. He said wooden furniture, like that of shishum wood, is quite expensive that is why Shishum’s furniture is made for selected buyers only.

Mian Kashif informing the FPCCI Chief he said Pakistan needs mass tree plantation at plain, hilly and other barren areas with the active participation of private sector and government to meet the demands of the growing furniture industry. He said about 5,00,000 workers are engaged in forestry sector, and its related business like logging, carpentry, and timber products manufacturing, and tourism and the forests contribute only 0.3 per cent to GNP due to low area.

He said the Pakistan furniture industry has the potential to be a substantial one at multiple levels as it can contribute significantly to the GDP and employ numerous people with varying skills in specially designed furniture.

He vociferously acclaimed Pakistani furniture designers ,craftsmen and suggested that these experts should play their part in enhancing furniture exports. “The country has excellent craftsmen and designers, who can virtually give life to a piece of wood,” he said,adding that Pakistani craftsmen should work in this particular area to earn much-needed foreign exchange,” he added.

Kashif Ashfaq said PFC planned to hold 13th Interiors Pakistan’ mega exhibition soon a truly memorable experience and aimed at exploring new opportunities for enhancing volume of mutual trade in furniture sector.