Duty-free machinery imports to help marble in-dustry boost exports

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has enormous reserves of marble and granite needing increased efforts to substantially enhance the marble sec-tor’s revenue and its contribution to the overall GDP growth.

Mr. Farrukh from Kohsar Marble told WealthPK that non-mechanized marble extraction wastes almost 70% of the product, adding that the government should allow duty-free machinery imports to help the sector produce value-added products and enhance exports.

He said lack of quality manufacturing, irregular raw material supply, and cur-rent technology were all significant factors hindering the marble industry’s expansion.

The investors should be given the legal right to quarries and the govern-ment should provide financial assistance to the marble exporters for partici-pation in the global trade fairs, he suggested.

Pakistan has enormous reserves of marble and granite in different areas but it has not been able to fully exploit its potential due to lack of modern tech-nology and machinery.

According to the statistics of Trend Economy, Pakistan’s marble exports have been declining for the last five years. Exports of the commodity accounted for 0.076% of total exports and the share decreased by 0.03% compared to 2019.

The widespread Covid-19 epidemic played havoc with all markets including the marble industry. The global marble market is rapidly expanding. In 2017, the global marble market was valued at USD 51.20 billion and is projected to reach USD 65.80 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 3.6% during a forecast period.

The worldwide marble industry is likely to be driven by rising construction infrastructure.

Countries such as the US, Italy, Spain, and Turkey have abundant quarries of high-quality marble and they meet the global marble demand for residen-tial, industrial, and commercial infrastructure.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor provides an opportunity to Pakistan to effectively utilize its valuable marble reserves. This multibillion-dollar pro-ject introduces cost-effective cutting and finishing technology to Pakistan, enhancing the industry’s competitiveness.

Though a few local enterprises are engaged in mineral extraction, much more can be done to promote this sector, which has huge potential to boost development and provide jobs for thousands of people due to the subse-quent industries that will emerge.