Marble sector offers great investment opportunities


Stone and marble sector has immense export potential and the business community should take benefit of this great untapped opportunity.This was the crux of speeches delivered at an awareness session on Marble Industry, jointly organized by Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Tuesday.
PASDEC Chairperson Shamama tul Arbab, Chief Executive Officer Baber Mairaj Shami, LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Executive Committee Member Chaudhry Khadim Hussain, former LCCI Presidents Mian Muhammad Ashraf, Abdul Basit, Almas Hyder, former Vice Presidents Zeshan Khalil, Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry and others spoke on the occasion.
A documentary of available opportunities in stone sector was also shown to the participants who asked many questions. Shmama tul Arbab said that PASDEC was a federal agency and earlier, its approach was to sit in the office but now the PASDEC was reaching to the business community to highlight the potential of this sector. She said that first session was being held with an objective to take guidance from the businessmen.
“We are still using old technology to extract marble and in this process, rock blasting causes irreparable damage to the raw marble. Efforts are being made to switch over to modern day technology.
“PASDEC CEO Babar Miraj Shami said that Pakistan had rich resources of semi-precious gems, granite, onyx, marble and rock salt which was also known as Himalayan salt but “unfortunately, we are not using these resources properly as most of the part is being exported in raw form.”
Another reason was that no public-private investment had so far been made on modern machinery and technology, he said and added, “We had an agreement with Italy regarding stone development but could not avail the opportunity because of red tapism.” He said that present government was serious to develop this sector.
LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that marble industry of Pakistan had immense export potential which needed to be exploited. He said that Pakistan had high quality marble and stones but because of aged technology for grading, cutting, polishing and finishing both quality and quantity were lost.
“Even today, we are using blasting to extract marble as a result of which, many precious stone are lost at the initial stage.” He said that Pakistan was prominent in the world for having green onyx, black granite, super white and other types of marble but most of these were being exported in raw form.
He said that government should introduce a special policy for the development of this sector and provide financial support to the people attached with stone and marble industry so that Pakistan could earn huge foreign exchange by enhancing exports of this sector. He also called for value addition and use of modern technology.
Kashif Anwar underlined the need for financing to the SME sector. LCCI Executive Committee Member Chaudhry Khadim Hussain said that exports were imperative for the survival of local businessmen as the imports were not viable for those who did not have sufficient exports.
He said that at global level, Pakistan known for blocks, not for the slabs. He said that blocks had very low value as compared to the slabs. “We do not have polishing and cutting facilities. We export marble in raw shape which comes back to Pakistan after cutting and polishing but on exorbitant rates,” he maintained.
He said that Pakistan was nowhere in the list of top exporting countries therefore focus should be on stone and marble sector as these resources were diminishing throughout the world but Pakistan had these at vast scale.