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Sports goods manufacturers demand incentive package, ‘football village’

Sports goods manufacturers demand incentive package, ‘football village’

SIALKOT: Sports goods manufacturers and exporters on Friday demanded a special incentives package for the Sialkot-based industry, with special focus on setting up a ‘football village’ with training and development facilities.

Meeting a group of journalists, leading manufacturers and exporters from the north-eastern city in Punjab said the sports goods industry is in dire need of government patronage.

The meeting was attended by prominent businessmen including Riazud Din Sheikh, Khawaja Masud Akhtar , Dr Nouman Idrees Butt, Major (retired) Mansur Ahmed, Khawar Anwar Khawaja, Qaisar Iqbal Baryar , Khurram Anwar Khawaja, Prof. Safdar Sandal, Mian Naeem Javaid, Tahir Majeed Kapur and Kashif Almas.

Advanced manufacturing and production technologies should immediately be introduced in Pakistan so that the local sector is able to meet global trade challenges as well as add value to its products, said Dr Butt.

Induction of latest manufacturing techniques is much needed for our century-old sports goods industry which still relies on traditional methods, said Mr Javaid.

Sharing an example, Prof Sandal said the industry is in dire need of early transfer of mechanised football manufacturing technology from European countries to Pakistan. The traditional method of producing hand stitched footballs is a major hurdle in increasing the exports of this item, he added.

He floated the idea of establishing an international standard football village at Sialkot which would have latest training and development facilities.

On the occasion, Mr Sheikh urged the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to prepare a smart strategy for ensuring maximum publicity and consumption of Sialkot’s traditional and nontraditional sports goods in domestic and international markets.

After successfully curbing the menace of child labour and defeating propaganda regarding the issue, the football industry is now fighting for its survival, said Mr Khawaja. He urged the TDAP to hold single-country exhibitions featuring Sialkot’s sports goods internationally and create awareness about the progress the country has made in terms of curbing child labour.

The exporters urged the government to take appropriate steps for go extending the facility of “research and development” to the sector to enable it to cope in global markets and meet modern trends and customers demands.

The businessmen suggested that technical training for manufacturing of sports goods must be provided as it will add good human resource in the industry and boost job creation. In this regard, assistance of local trade bodies can be obtained by the concerned agencies, the exporters added.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2017

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