Lahore, February 25, 2015 (PPI-OT): Mr. Shah Faisal Afridi, President Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) proposed to open a mineral development bank supported with the conducive policy environment to explore the potential of marble and granite sector at optimal level. He was addressing a meeting held at PCJCCI premises today for reviewing ways and means to resolve the issues to be confronted by marble industry. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Wang Zihai, Chairman Association of all Chinese Companies working in Pakistan.
Mr. Afridi while presiding over the meeting said, “Pakistan is the 6th largest mineral extractor of marble and granite and has a place on world mining map. Pakistan has enormous potential to promote exports of marble products as it possess huge marble and granite reserves of around 350 million tones and 64 varieties of marble and granite stones, he added.
He further said that currently global market for marble and granite was estimated at around $62 billion, but Pakistan’s share was below one percent, which should be a cause of concern for the policymakers. He said with the support of government, marble industry has the potential to become the backbone of the economy and promote more exports than the share of textile products and urged that government should address marble industry issues on priority, whose exports can well go up to over $200 million per year, if some inducements are provided to marble sector, specifically in the field of value-addition.
Faisal Afridi suggested that the government should open a mineral development bank for the marble and stone sector. He said the high electricity cost, use of obsolete mining techniques, lack of financing facility and processing units, law and order issues in major mining areas, inconsistent power supply, insufficient infrastructure from mines to ports, lack of value addition, improper transportation facilities and supply chain problems etc were the major hurdles that were holding back this industry from full growth potential . He stressed the need for public-private sector partnership for the development of the sector.
He suggested taking marble industrialists on board in the policymaking process to frame such policies that could boost the industry. The government must improve the power infrastructure, water, sewerage and road networks. It should ensure soft loans to the potential investors to enable them get modern quarrying machinery. It should also help establish training centers for workforce and a safe and healthy environment.
He said that marble miners should stop method of blasting and get the latest machinery on rental basis for extracting marble. The standard wastage in the world is 45 percent for the marble sector; he said adding that in Pakistan blasting technique was destroying 85 percent marble in mining. He said that with the use of technology and innovation we can even utilize the marble powder for building blocks.
Mr. Wang Zihai while expressing views said that China is the major importer of Pakistani marble with a share of almost 85%. He said that China is enthusiastically interested in local marbles and establishing joint ventures with Pakistani marble exporters but have been demoralized due to some security reasons and deteriorating law and order situation. He suggested the setting up of a marble city in the federal capital and establishment of more Common Facility and Training Canters (CFTCs) in the country with the collaboration of China.
For more information, contact:
Wardah Ali Gohar
Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI)
Mega Tower, 309 – 6th Floor,
Main Boulevard, Gulberg II,
Lahore, Punjab – Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-35777460-02, +92-42-37032203, +92-42-35874353