President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and Former Provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan is world’s 51st largest producer of chip and particle board producing around 76,000 cubic meter annually. The industry fulfils domestic demand in addition to contributing 0.1 percent to the international trade of this sector. There are around 35 industrial units manufacturing chip board to fulfil needs of construction, furniture and allied sectors and largely reducing import bill of the Country.
Former minister said while talking to the business community that particle board is the best substitute to the natural wood. In the backdrop of forest protection policy of the current government, this sector has huge growth potential which can benefit existing players of the industry and may also facilitate new entrants. Revision on regulatory duties applied on the import of raw material will be an added advantage to this sector, which will boost its growth and opportunities. It is vital to observe and practice international standards keeping the international demand in mind for which government assistance is vital, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that there is no research and development institute in the country to bring innovation in this sector. Production of this sector is in traditional manner with no advancement in accordance to the international needs thus exports are just minimal. Development of this sector will not only play significant role in increased exports of this sector but will also play vital role in protecting countrywide forests.
Veteran business leader said that the environmental protection authorities are discriminating against wood based industry, which need to be eradicated. Emission standard for general factory is 400 – 1700 mg/m³ while emission standard for sulphuric acid and nitric acid is 5000 and 3000 mg/m³. Emission standard for wood based industry is set to as the general factories which need to be enhanced to 5000 mg/m³ in order to facilitate this sector.
He said that industries in this sector closes its units first six days every month in order to save the environment but it faces different difficulties from EPAs which need due consideration. Six days monthly closure cause this sector 25 percent loss in production which needs government attention in consultation with All Pakistan Particle board manufacturers association which is the representative body of this industry. Industrialists in this sector are ready to plant 1000 plants per unit to contribute to the cause of environment protection. If the Finance Minister Asad Umar takes appropriate steps in this regard, this sector can play an important role in the development of country, he added.