The sports goods industry of Pakistan has continued to outperform as football exports crossed $50 million in the first four months of current fiscal year.

Foreign shipments of footballs rose 17% to $50.148 million in July-October 2021 compared to $42.78 million in the same period of last year.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the overall exports of sports goods increased 21% to $105.12 million during the period under review compared to $87.1 million in the corresponding period of previous year.

“Across-the-board increase in exports is a positive sign,” Topline Securities economist Atif Zafar told The Express Tribune. “Sports goods have always been a strong area for Pakistan.”

Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) CEO Mukhtar Ahmad Ali said that a significant growth was witnessed in exports of sports goods in percentage terms.

“We must introduce measures to steer diversity in exports of sports goods because the current value is quite low.”

Arif Habib Commodities CEO Ahsan Mehanti highlighted that exports of sports goods had shown a significant increase owing to the rupee depreciation and Pakistan’s positive performance on the Covid-19 front compared to regional countries.

Highlighting some of the challenges faced by exporters, he said that industries faced power outages and the recent hike in energy tariff could increase the cost of production and impact the competitiveness of Pakistan’s exports.

Pak-Kuwait Investment Company Head of Research Samiullah Tariq said that sports goods were an important export area for Pakistan.

“However, textile products dominate the exports chart and enjoy a higher share in it,” he said. “Regardless, we have managed to produce top-quality footballs for exports and we should maintain this level of excellence.”

Although the government is endeavouring to enhance exports, the sector faces high freight charges and several other challenges.

“The government should introduce some kind of check on shipping lines for controlling freight cost,” said Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) President Zulfikar Thaver.

Freight charges for various destinations have increased manifold, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2021.

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