Pakistan's seafood industry demands zero-rating

Requests govt to reduce electricity tariff to regain lost status

​ Our Correspondent May 10, 2020

KARACHI: The seafood industry has also set forward the demand for zero-rating coupled with a request of lower electricity tariff in a bid to regain its lost status. It has urged the government to allot priority to the sector similar to other export-oriented industries with regard to sales tax and income tax refunds.

These demands were made jointly by the Pakistan Fish Exporters Association (PFEA), Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) in a meeting on Saturday. The session was held to discuss recommendations to uplift the seafood sector of Pakistan to its true potential.

During the meeting, PFEA Chairman Zafar Kundi, along with seafood exporters Akhlaq Hussain and Yasir Abbas, urged the government to grant zero-rated status to seafood export industry just like the other export-oriented sectors enjoyed until past year.

They also emphasised the need for lower electricity tariff. Also present in the meeting, UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver said it was high-time the fishing industry adopted modernisation.

“It needs finance and facilities to function at par with the international standards,” he said. “In fact, it needs to partner with China under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for revival since this sector possesses a vast scope and sky is the limit.”

He stressed that the seafood sector could employ thousands of workers, creating opportunities for handsome income generation besides feeding nutritional food to the masses.

Above everything, this sector can earn valuable foreign exchange, however, it needs proper financing, facilitation and support of a strategic plan and policy.

Exporters insisted upon inclusion of correct HS codes in the negotiated FTA-II with China.

They further called for efforts at the highest levels to facilitate exporters facing hurdles in exporting to European Union and US. The participants also called for lifting the ban on seafood exports to countries like Saudi Arabia. They demanded allowance of minimum 5% rebate on merchandise exports under foreign trade policy of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2020.

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