Inclusion of rice as traditional item in zero rated ST demandedNovember 5, 2014
KARACHI: A delegation of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) under the leadership of its Chairman Rafique Suleman visited the FPCCI and held a meeting with its President Zakaria Usman and highlighted various problems responsible for high cost of export of rice and erosion of its competitive edge in global market such as non-availability of sound containers, especially for rice; ever increasing container terminal charges viz-a-viz poor services; inordinate delay in refund claims on Sale Tax paid by the rice exporters on their electricity bills; Development of infrastructure from Export Development Fund (EDF) for uninterrupted power supply; passing of trickledown effect to industry in fuel adjustment charges due to reduction in POL prices in international market etc.
Khurram Sayeed and Ismail Suttar, Vice Presidents of FPCCI, Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Customs and others were also present on the occasion. The FPCCI Chief, Zakaria Usman, responding to the poor services extended by the container terminal operators (CTOs) during examination of goods by Anti Narcotic Force (ANF) at ports informed that FPCCI had recently organized two joint meetings of all the stakeholders involved in these processes at ports viz Traders; Regional Directorate of ANF; Port Operating Companies (KICT, PICT and QICT); KPT; PQA, SBP etc., wherein it was mutually decided that CTOs would either hire sufficient trained and skilled manpower for improvement in their services or outsource it to a third party having professional expertise in re-packing of goods and re-stuffing in containers.
Regarding problems related to export proceeds and charging of different freight rates at different rupee-dollar parity rates by each shipping company due to non monitoring of Foreign Exchange Policy by the State Bank of Pakistan, the FPCCI President invited the REAP delegation to prepare its proposals and take them-up in the meeting with the Governor SBP who is scheduled to visit FPCCI shortly. He also urged the shipping companies to reduce the containers charges for rice as it is a low value and high volume item as compared to other value added goods like textile etc.
In response to charging GST on electricity bills of rice exporters, Usman advised the REAP members to prepare a comprehensive proposal for including rice as a traditional item in zero rated sales tax regime like textile, leather, surgical goods, sports goods and carpet industrial sub-sectors.
The FPCCI President further asked the delegation to prepare its proposal for seeking financial assistance from EDF for the development of dedicated line from K-Electric feeder to their cluster area to ensure smooth supply of power. He advised the delegation to get a piece of land from its own resources and then get the support from EDF for construction of building and procurement of equipment and machinery for development of proposed Rice Research Institutes.
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