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Union of Small and Medium Enterprises demands prompt inclusion of rice sector in 0 rating

Karachi, June 10, 2016 (PPI-OT): The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the federal commerce minister engineer Khurram Dastagir to use his good office and influence the federal finance minister (FM)Ishaq Dar to comprehend the need for 0 rating the rice sector urgently to enable compete in global market and regain lost markets.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver has pointed out that the SME rice units and SME farmers are in jeopardy due to high cost of production mainly because of heavy levies on farm inputs, poor logistics and orthodox systems of cultivation, irrigation and harvesting. As a result more than 1000 units have closed down.

The yield per acre is much lower than neighboring countries due to various factors such as inferior seeds and deteriorating soil. There are no new seed varieties and insignificant research on seeds.

Rice exports is the second largest foreign exchange earner and if facilitated with access to finance, insurance to enable exports to third world countries and 0 rating the rice sector for all taxes and levies the exports will double and the sector would again be able to stand on its feet to meet the challenges.

Thaver said we fail to understand why the FM did not include the rice sector for 0 rating in the budget and why he is unable to comprehend the turmoil and hardships the sector is under going due to decline in global buying and also due to no proper financial agreement with Iran which is major buyer of our super basmati rice.

Our super basmati growers, millers, processors and exporters have suffered at the hands of our main competitor due to lack of government support. The commerce ministry needs to examine the shortcomings and play its role to revive the exports of super basmati or in future the farmers will not grow this variety and it will become extinct.

Basmati is our heritage and considered the best rice in the world due to its aroma, taste, length and look and deserves the best attention of the government and Pakistan cannot afford to ignore the lost position under any circumstances.

UNISAME has also urged the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) chairman Shahid Rashid to look into the geographical indication (GI) issue and the registrar of trade marks to declare the basmati trademark in favour of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) as a state entity and resolve the matter in the best interest of the nation.

The SME rice farmers, millers, processors and exporters expect the government to take the rice sector seriously and resolve the issues failing which the rice sector will suffer irreparable loss.

A stitch in time saves nine and the stakeholders have reiterated their demand for prompt positive steps to save the white and parboiled rice industry.

For more information, contact:
Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME)
75/1 3rd Commercial Street,
Phase IV, D.H.A., Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-35884225-6
Fax: +92-21-35380642
Cell: +92-300-8245307, +92-321-8245307
Email: unisame@gmail.com

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