Rice exporters: Commerce minister promises 50% subsidy for brand promotion

Says exporters must work on marketing Pakistani rice in order to compete internationally 

Our Correspondent January 31, 2017

LAHORE: Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir has stated that the government is willing to give a 50% subsidy to those rice exporters who are exporting rice under their own brand name.

Speaking at ceremony held by the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), he said that the ministry is working on geographical indication law, which will be implemented soon.

“Rice exporters should work on branding and marketing Pakistani rice in order to compete with Indian rice in international market,” said Dastgir.

REAP Chairman Mahmood Baqi in his speech demanded that the government include rice exporters in zero rated sales tax regime on utility bills and withholding tax on supply of electricity.

The chairman said that rice exporters have been facing unprecedented challenges for years and consequently, their capacity has been severely impaired. “Exports, both in quantity and value terms, could not pick up pace and have stood below targets. Withdrawal of the zero rating facility and imposition of sales tax would be detrimental to business activities.”

We request the government to declare rice exports as an industry and include it in the zero rated regimes, said Baqi.

Rice export sector is the second largest export commodity, but despite earnings of about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually, rice exporters are not given the benefits extended to textile, leather, carpets, sports goods and surgical instruments sectors, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2017.

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