Syed Anwer Suhail Razvi
PAKISTAN SOAP MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION
Alhamd-o-Lillah! It gives me great pleasure to express my views regarding the potentials of Pakistan’s soap industry through this newly formed Website.
In 1947 the main Soap Industries were all situated in those parts of India, which are not included in Pakistan. There were only two or three small units that were making low quality washing soaps with local raw material. Their process was manual through pan cooking and production was meager catering to the surrounding needs only. In the beginning, there was no barrier of trade between India and Pakistan. So all sort of soap used to be imported from India for the Pakistani consumers. During that period entrepreneurs who were Soap Manufacturers in undivided India and had set up few factories were eventually deprived of their units because of partition. Even though the units were comparatively large, manufacturing process was manual and orthodox; still the quality was much better and production was also regular due to their previous experience.
By the passage of time not only the pioneers but also many new parties, including some multinationals, established fully mechanized and automatic plants and started the production of Toilet Soap and Laundry Soap on highest international standard. Presently the Soap Industry is very well established in Pakistan, not only meeting the entire needs of the country but also exporting a part of its production to Middle Eastern & African Countries. There are approximately 600 units, approximately 100 units in organized sector and 500 factories in un-organized sector for making Soaps. They are employing 250,000 workers in Pakistan contributing approximately Rs.18 billion to the national exchequer.
We all know the fact that Soap is such an essential item that the day starts and ends with the use of Soap. But unfortunately the Soap Industry is being given step motherly treatment by the government. The local industries are showing continuous decline in sales & production due to various damaging policies of the Government.
How can we compete with imported soap after paying such a heavy duties on Raw Material? The imported soaps are freely sold in the market at cheaper price – reasons being smuggling, ATT – Afghan Transit Trade and under-invoicing. This has resulted in affecting sales of local brands, as a result we are losing our sales and production in favor of imported soap and many of our industries are on the verge of collapse. This situation is very alarming and we are putting the future of Pakistan’s Soap Industry at stake. We should protect the interest of those who have invested billion of rupees in our industries and are providing jobs to more than 250,000 workers. The Custom Duties on all our basic raw materials should not be above 5%.
The reason for decline of Pakistan’s Soap Industry can be attributed mainly to the current economic conditions in the country which has increased the cost of production out of proportion and adversely affected sales.
Giving protection to the local industry will increase volume and yield more revenue, which will not only generate more revenue for the government but the benefit in terms of pricing can also be passed on to the ultimate consumers.