Joint ventures can lift Pakistan’s surgical instruments industry: WealthPK

ISLAMABAD:  The world-renowned surgical instruments industry in Sialkot is yet to develop and enhance exports according to its true potential due to a variety of reasons, leading manufacturers said.
Muhammad Jamil Khan, Vice Chairman of Surgical Instruments Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SIMAP), told WealthPK that there are fewer companies in Sialkot, which sell their surgical products as ‘Made in Pakistan’ brand to the end users in the European and US markets. He said many manufacturers in Pakistan stick to traditional methods of trade with no innovation at all. This has reduced the options of trade expansion, as e-commerce is being increasingly used by some companies as an easier method of trade.
Jamil elaborated that except for a few leading surgical instruments manufacturing units in Sialkot, the majority of companies are content with the status quo of receiving continued orders for the same product and equipment for years; whereas some major and leading industrial players have inked joint ventures with Chinese and German companies, and they are now using latest gadgets to improve production and exports.
As per findings of a report compiled jointly by Pakistan Business Council, Engineering Development Board and SIMAP, the surgical instruments industry contributes 1.6% to Pakistan’s total exports. With the help of Germany and China, Pakistani manufacturers can start using complex engineering machinery that can bring in higher export volumes for Pakistan.
The report shows that Pakistan holds 0.7% market share in HS-901890 (code) surgical instruments, and despite the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) status of instruments such as scissors, scalpels, forceps, clamps and dentistry tools, these products are usually shipped to the US and European markets from where they go through quality assurance and some value-addition such as ceramic coating, and further sold in the European and Middle East markets. That’s the main reason which minimises the profit margin for Pakistani manufacturers.
Jamil said Pakistani manufacturers can move forward from making simple stainless-steel instruments to complex machines used in EEG/ECG, radiology, CT scan and much more. He urged the government to invite Chinese and German investment in this important sector.
Former chairman of SIMAP Waqas Raza also viewed that Sialkot surgical industry has the potential to be the best in the world. He said the annual exports of $435 million could be increased substantially.
Waqas said 95% of surgical instruments were manufactured in Sialkot, and all registered companies exporting surgical instruments had certificates of quality standards from international organisations.
“Most of the instruments manufactured are of mechanical nature,” Raza pointed out, adding that only few instruments are of electro-mechanical nature.
He said that with the support of the government, foreign investment in this important sector can be enhanced, which will prove beneficial for Pakistan’s economy in the long run. –INP