SIALKOT, June 15: The USAID has launched a ‘Vision 2010’ programme at Sialkot in collaboration with the Surgical Instruments Manufacturers Association (SIMA), Pakistan, to modernize surgical industry and enhance its productivity.

The launching ceremony, held at the SIMA offices here on Thursday, was attended by USAID’s allied agency J.E Austin Associates Inc. country director Dr Warren Weinstein, assistant coordinator Muhammad Raza Khan, chief executive of Cluster Navigators Ltd., New Zealand, Ifor Ffowcs-Williams, and Sima chairman Naeem Anwar Qureshi.

Briefing journalists about the project, the SIMA chairman said the USAID had conducted a detailed study about the local surgical industry problems, besides finding out ways to give a boost to it through meeting global trade challenges under the WTO regime.

He said under this programme, exports of surgical instruments from Sialkot would be enhanced to the tune of 500 million dollars annually from existing 180 million dollars by the year 2010 by ensuring implementation on all findings and recommendations of the USAID.

The USAID, he said, had engaged J.E Austin Associates Inc., a New Zealand-based multinational agency, which had conducted a comprehensive study to find out solution to problems faced by surgical industry. To resolve them, the agency would involve all stakeholders in talks.

The foreign agency had already successfully developed dairy, gems and jewellery industries in Pakistan.

Mr Qureshi said the USAID would provide all the consultancy and technical assistance and guidelines to boost the surgical industry.

The USAID study revealed that the Sialkot surgical industry had a great export potential, but it could not be developed for lack of use of scientific methods.

It also criticised the role played by the Export Promotion Bureau, as its officials failed to resolve problems faced by surgical exporters.

The study stressed that the role of Metal Industries Development Center (MIDC), Sialkot, should be acknowledged as an industrial museum.

While surgical industry’s stakeholders said that the MIDC had become a “white elephant”, as it offered no training facility to the people.

USAID officials suggested that the MIDC should be converted into a technology transfer center, equipping it with modern machinery.

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