Islamabad: Government should focus on resolving marble industry problems on priority as Pakistan has great potential to improve marble exports by upgrading technology and value addition of marble products, observed Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said Pakistan is the 6th largest extractor of marble and granite in the world and its reserves of these stones are estimated at around 297 billion tons. However, despite huge size of deposits and long-term export potential, Pakistan has merely 2 percent share in global market of marble products, which is negligible.
He said marble industry is employing over 30,000 workers but chronic power crisis, outdated quarrying techniques, inconsistent supplies of raw materials, lack of value-addition, poor law & order conditions and lack of better infrastructure in quarries and processing areas are major obstacles that need to be addressed to put marble industry on the path of sustainable growth.
Muzzamil Sabri said China, Italy and many other countries are purchasing raw marble products like slabs and blocks from Pakistan and re-export them after value addition around the world earning much better returns. He said government should cooperate with marble industrialists in value addition of marble products that will help in enhancing marble exports significantly.
He said with value addition and improved quality, Pakistan could promote exports of finished marble products to Saudi Arabia, Middle East, Russia, USA, Europe and many other countries.
Mohammad Shakeel Munir Senior Vice President and M. Ashfaq Hussain Chatha, Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that hundreds of processing units are employing local manufactured machinery and stressed that government should provide necessary support in upgrading and modernizing such machinery to meet international quality standards. They said handling, cutting, storing and transportation facilities should also be improved to enhance exports of marble products.
They said the current blasting practices in Pakistan are causing huge loss of precious stones as the standard wastage of marble in the world is 45 percent, whereas it is 85 percent in Pakistan. They emphasized that government should facilitate marble sector businessmen in adopting state-of-the-art mining technologies to avoid losses and achieve better quality finished products.