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KARACHI: The continuous fluctuations in USD is causing an acute shortage of materials and equipment in the dental industry. The industry which used to import in bulk for better pricing and stock availability is now reduced to ordering small quantities resulting in higher costs.
The industry is facing a big drop of almost 50% in sales, and government purchases are almost negligible. The demand for materials is still there, but equipment demand has fallen sharply.
The dental industry adopts the policy of 'wait and see' amid rising dollar
Responding to a question, Ashraf Ghauri, the president of the Dental Trade and Manufacturers Association (DTMA), said that sales are down, and the industry currently has adopted the policy of wait and see till the US dollar stabilizes.
The price variation is such that only in-stock items can be quoted to the customer, and anything which needs to be imported cannot be quoted at all, he added. The industry is also facing difficulty establishing letters of credit, and sending remittances are becoming increasingly difficult, Mr Ghauri said.
'It is difficult to raise prices with declining sales'
While talking to The Dental Tribune, another major player in the industry Idrees Qadri of Glow Pak, said that things have become very difficult, and ever-rising costs and continuous upward flight of the USD against the rupee is making it even more difficult to cope. The industry is also finding it difficult to raise prices amid declining sales.
The government tender business has also come to a halt with no budgets available to the provincial or district health departments. It is only the private clinics which are generating some sales. Young dental graduates are also finding it difficult to set up clinics after having paid million in fees alone. With gas, electricity and petroleum prices going up, the patient in-flow is also dented. “I am always thinking positively, but the recent uncertainty is making the situation more difficult; no foreign company is willing to sign up for JVs”, he concluded.
Inflation has also adversely affected dentists and patients alike.
The dentists are also finding it difficult to raise their charges based on the daily increase in prices. The shortage of materials makes it difficult to plan surgeries and timely treatment of patients. There is a trend in the market to offer dental services against a payment plan, which can no longer be offered owing to new prices every day. The recent trend of dollar spikes is making life difficult across the industry.
The industry feels that it is time that SBP intervenes to stabilize the dollar lest it continues its free fall and make things worse.
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