Karachi: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA) Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said SAARC region has become world’s top importer of used clothes and articles.
India is the largest importer of such clothes while Pakistan and Russia have clinched second position worldwide, it said.
Out of global trade of 4179 million dollars worn clothes, New Delhi holds 4.3 percent share equal to 182 million dollars while Pakistan and Russia have 3.9 percent share, said PBIF President and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain.
He said that US, UK and Germany are leading exporters of the used clothes facing market expansion due to increasing poverty in various parts of the world including Sub-Continent and Africa.
He said that used clothes are catering for the needs of poor and middle-income groups in Pakistan while better quality clothes are re-exported after slight stitching while India has a dominating position by using woollen clothes to make blankets for exports.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that eroding buying power in Pakistan has increased demand for second-hand clothes which is evident from interest of people in Lunda Bazaars.
Pakistan imported 353831 tonnes of used clothes in 2010-11, 403059 tonnes in 2011-12, 198720 tonnes in 2012-13, 219976 tonnes in 2013-14 and 466436 tonnes in 2014-15.
However, increased taxes, erosion in value of rupee and recently slapped 33 to 126 per cent increase in import trade price by the Customs has delivered a blow to this segment.
The decision has increased burden on importers by 120,000 to 150,000 per container which is being transferred to consumers.
Government should not view business of old clothes as a tool to increase revenue but an instrument to provide relief to masses as metrological department has predicted a chilling weather resulting in death in Pakistan due to climate change.
Taxes should be abolished on this sector or reduced to help masses combat poverty and winter, especially in cold areas like Gilgit Baltistan.