LAHORE: Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Chairman Khalil Sattar has urged the government to provide a level playing field to domestic processors of poultry meat, stressing that import of Halal products from Malaysia and China was hurting the local industry.
He said local processors, who pay duties and sales tax on import, have been greatly disadvantaged by subsidised and zero-rated imports of Halal meat from Malaysia. He also claimed that chicken in China and Malaysia was not slaughtered in accordance with Islamic practices.
Addressing members of the Lahore Economic Journalists Association at the KNN chicken processing plant, he said that the government planners granted zero-rated access to Malaysian processed chicken without consulting the poultry sector.
“Malaysia grants 15 rebates on export of processed chicken, which makes it cheaper than Pakistani processed meat. This is injustice for Pakistani processors who have to pay duties and sales tax on inputs like spices and packing materials,” he said. Following this concession, all the fast food chains that were previously buying Pakistani meat, are now importing processed chicken from Malaysia or China – that has also been granted the same concession.
“Chicken birds in these two countries are slaughtered via stunning with electric shock or gases. Shariah board in Pakistan forbids stunning animals before slaughtering,” he explained. “Also, in China, halal and non halal animals are slaughtered in the same place; this again is banned under Islamic principle.
Moreover, since China is the largest consumer of pig meat, there is no guarantee that poultry feed consumed by poultry birds in not contaminated with pig waste, added Sattar.
He further said that the government had allowed poultry meat to be imported from India at 5% duty, while Pakistan cannot export poultry to India as the product has been placed by the Indians on the sensitive list. “It is unfair to allow one-way trade when our items are practically banned.” According to Sattar, hundreds of containers of poultry products are being imported into Pakistan by fast food chains. One 40” container carries 25 tons of chicken breast meat. “This displaces local production of 183,480 broilers and 830,000 tons of domestically produced poultry feed. “Government regulations are also deterring Muslim countries from importing halal poultry from Pakistan,” lamented Sattar.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2015.