Imran's govt concerned over delay in making halal authority functional

PTI govt to prepare plan to expand Pakistan’s share in $4tr global halal market

Zafar Bhutta April 09, 2019
The Pakistan National Accreditation Council has so far endorsed five halal certification bodies. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has expressed concern over an inordinate delay as the Pakistan Halal Authority (PHA) is not yet fully functional and has decided to frame a viable plan to expand the country’s footprint in the $4-trillion international halal market.

As part of the plan, the government is considering placing the PHA under administrative control of the Commerce Division instead of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet, in its meeting held on March 20, directed Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Ishrat Husain to undertake a detailed review of the current role of PHA in relation to international halal organisations and come up with a viable plan to place the authority under administrative control of the Commerce Division.

During discussions in the meeting, the economic managers noted that the PHA was still not fully functional, which prevented Pakistan from capitalising on the huge potential of international halal market.

It was pointed out that at present, the size of international market was in the range of $3 to $4 trillion, but Pakistan’s share in it was quite negligible.

The PHA was established through an act of parliament in an attempt to promote foreign and inter-provincial trade and commerce in halal goods and processes. The authority is currently working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Since its inception, the authority has carried out some functions. The prime minister has approved the composition of its board of governors. Its executive committee has been constituted to carry out day-to-day functions of the authority.

PHA’s recruitment regulations have been approved by the Establishment Division. The prime minister has directed that the regulations may be sent to the cabinet committee for disposal of the legislative cases.

The Establishment Division has been requested to nominate a panel of three officers of BS grade-21 for posting as the PHA director general on deputation. The Finance Division has approved an annual budget of Rs35 million for the PHA for fiscal year 2018-19.

Permission for a new office building of the PHA has been obtained from the Ministry of Housing and Works. At present, the authority is housed at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Besides these moves, the organisations concerned of the Ministry of Science have undertaken some activities to strengthen the halal food system in the country.

The Pakistan National Accreditation Council has so far accredited five halal certification bodies. Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has also established halal authentication laboratories in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar for the testing of different products. These laboratories will also contribute to the export of quality halal goods.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2019.

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