Pakistan has imported 186,299 metric tons of pre-worn clothes in July and August. This is a 283% rise from the same period last year. Experts say that the trend is due to rising poverty and inflation in the country.
In the past fiscal year, imports of pre-worn clothes rose by 90% and reached 732,623 tonnes. They were worth $309.56 million. As per the data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, it is an 83.43% rise compared to the fiscal year before that.
In the first two months of the fiscal year 2021-2022, the country has spent $79 million on the import of secondhand clothing items. It is 273.4% higher than the previous year. The inflation in September 2021 is at 9%, reported Arab News.
Senior Pakistani economist Dr Abdul Jabbar Khan said that the one main reason for importing second hand clothes is poverty. "People are left with the choice between clothing and food. Their first choice obviously would be to keep contact between body and soul." As per the data of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, about 39% of Pakistanis live in poverty.
Muhammad Usman Farooqui, the general secretary of the Pakistan Secondhand Clothing Merchants Association, told Arab News that the use and the import of secondhand clothes are rising due to high inflationary trends in the country.
Those who were not previously using secondhand clothes are also now turning toward it. A majority of consumers are based in northern parts of the country where extreme weather conditions coupled with poverty are main factors, added Farooqui.
Traders in Pakistan import pre-worn clothes from the US, Europe, Japan, Australia, China, and Korea. The most common items are blankets, jackets, and other casual wear. Importers said that they are currently meeting about 30% of the requirement.