* Marble sector to fetch huge orders if trade missions, TDAP complete homework

KARACHI: Pakistan marble sector is anticipating a huge business deal with the Abu Dhabi and it is expected that construction activities will gather pace in 2011-12 as a number of government infrastructure projects are moving to build phase and the continual development of Abu Dhabi’s ambitious 2030 programme.

The programme has revealed that over $23 billion construction contracts are ready to be awarded in the UAE market.

“Around 22 percent of the construction material consists of marble products, tiles and blocks,” chairman BMG All Pakistan Marble Mining Processing Industry and Exporters Association (APMMPIEA), Sanaullah Khan said Tuesday.

Pakistan can fetch over $300 million orders for marble finished and semi-finished products if the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and foreign trade commissioners in the States complete their homework on time, Khan added.

Khan said export of different marble products including slabs from Pakistan during July-December 2010 stood at $40.70 million (including $20.70 million to Afghanistan) as compared to $14.71 million during the same period last year.

He asked the Pakistan foreign missions in UAE to conduct an in-depth critical analysis of five sub sectors of the building and construction sector, including retail, commercial, residential, tourism and leisure besides looking at their growth in the current economic climate. Around 15 percent growth is expected while the country will cross $550 million by exporting finished and semi finished goods by 2015 in addition of the existing export of over $47 million annually, he added.

He hoped the country would be benefited by the export of all kind of marble products on the back of construction boom in the Middle East, Saudi Arab and increase in Indian demand. He said mining and quarry sector contributes nearly 0.6 percent to Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) with an estimated value addition of more than Rs 16.5 billion. He said China is the leading buyer of semi goods and raw material from Pakistan while UAE and other countries buy finished marble products.

He said Pakistan business community in Riyadh under Business Foreign Investors Forum was also taking interest and providing all possible help in holding meetings with the foreign buyers especially with Saudi counterparts. He said the body proposed the Ministry of Commerce to facilitate marble sector in holding marble exhibitions in potential markets to introduce the precious verities of marble.

Regarding power and gas load shedding in industrial sites, He said marble sector has been severely affected by power and gas load shedding besides breakdown has also played its part in increasing losses. Industry is deeply short of export targets mainly due to 150-250 hour load shedding a month, which has increased financial pressures on industries, he added.

Daily Times