THE CARPET INDUSTRY’S EXPORT POTENTIAL IS UNDER-UTILISED
—- Mian Attiq-Ur-Rehman
The Consul’s Lahore Correspondent interviewed Mian Attiq-Ur-Rehman, a leading businessman of Lahore, and discussed with him the issues facing the carpet industry of Pakistan.
Excerpts from the interview: Question: What is the current status of the carpet industry which is said to have immense export potential?
Answer: Until 2005 the carpet sector was going very well. However, due to instability and security conditions things got worse and the foreign buyers preferred doing business with India, Iran and Turkey. Pakistan had introduced various innovations in the carpet sector including vegetable dye which afterwards was copied by other countries. However, none have been able to ensure the quality that Pakistani artistes have been giving for so long. Still Pakistani carpets have no match and can be a major forex earner.
However, no incumbent government has ever thought of supporting this neglected sector. Every time we reached the government we were discouraged. On the flipside, the Indian government has extended a number of incentives to the sector and now their exports have increased ten times. Our government should also understand the gravity of the situation and take steps to help the sector stand on its own feet.
Q: What kind of support do you seek from the government?
A: There are a number areas where the government can come to support the sector. We have been exporting wool, raw material for making carpets, to Afghanistan. There should be some scheme for adding value to the raw materia locally. In this context, the government is required to ensure ease-of-doing business. We have immense potential to translate it into the much-needed forex reserves for the country.
Q: Tell us something about your own business, and about your company becoming a leading carpet exporter.
A: I am proud of my father’s legacy. My father started the business with just on carpet in 1970 and afterwards we have been among the leading exporters for the last many decades in Pakistan. I joined my father’s business in 1999 and since then have been in this line. Our company Pak Shalimar Carpets has been engaged in the manufacturing and export of Handmade Oriental Rugs & Carpets since 1970. We export carpets the world over.
Our business philosophy is to provide quality products at minimum cost and provide dependable service to all our customers. Our quality policy is to produce products that exceed the expectations of our customers and meet the highest international standard. We believe in novelty and exploring new possibilities. We are customer oriented and we believe that mutual trust between management and employee is the key to success.
Q: What are the major hurdles you face in conducting your business.
A: This is the age of technology and we are far behind in this field. Due to this we have to face payment impediments. The government should ensure fast track banking channels for this purpose. So, the local businessmen could work online and bring in dollars for the country.
Q: What is your advice to youth the young entrepreneurs in the carpet sector?
A: I would suggest the new generation should adopt latest technology for online sale of carpets. We have a great potential in the sector that can be explored through e-commerce.