In March this year, leather exports declined by 32 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo Credit: News Nation Photo)
Leather exporters on Wednesday urged the government to formulate a lockdown exit plan for the sector after May 3, otherwise there is a possibility that orders could be shifted to countries like China and Vietnam. Council for Leather Exports (CLE) Chairman Aqeel Ahmed Panaruna said export orders worth USD 1 billion (about Rs 7,600 crore) have been unilaterally cancelled so far since March 17.
In March this year, leather exports declined by 32 per cent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "In April, we are expecting only 5 per cent to 10 per cent of exports. In May-June, we are expecting only 50 per cent of business, provided we exit from the lockdown. China and Vietnam and Bangladesh are now running their production at full capacities," Aqeel said.
He said it is very important to prepare and send samples to global buyers for production for next six months. "Lockdown exit plan for exporters after May 3 is important to avoid further cancellation and possible shifting of orders to China, Vietnam and South East Asian countries," he added.
Aqeel also said that the sector's annual export is about USD 6 billion (about Rs 45,600 crore) and 92 per cent of the industry is made up of micro, small and medium enterprises. The industry employs 4.42 million people. The major export markets for the sector include Italy, Germany, Spain, France, the UK and the US.