KARACHI - The federal government on Wednesday abolished the Minimum Export Price (MEP) on all varieties of rice. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued a notification aimed at deleting the minimum export price that was imposed earlier by the government. According to notification available with The Nation the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in exercise of powers conferred vide Section 3 (1) of Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1950 (XXXIX of 1950) and with reference to S.No 2, Schedule II of SRO No. 759 (I)/2008 dated July 18, 2008, and in partial modification of Public Notice No. 4 (2)/2008 dated 23rd August 2008, Para (1) of the said Notice is hereby deleted with immediate effect. It may be noted that federal government earlier had set the MEP for all the varieties of rice including basmati and non-basmati but amending the earlier notification it had deleted the MEP on non-basmati of rice. The exporters of rice raised their voice for abolishment of MEP on all kind of varieties of rice especially on basmati. Finally, the federal government has deleted the MEP on basmati as production of new crop is nearly to arrive in market. Meanwhile, Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) Muhammad Azhar Akhtar while talking to The Nation welcomed the move of government and said the abolishment of Minimum Export Price will help to export the remaining stocks of the commodity as prices of rice in domestic as well international market have been decreased. He further said the MEP was upsetting the trade of commodity especially it has created problems for small exporters. Whilst the small rice exporters heaved a sigh of relief at the removal of the condition of minimum export price (MEP) they expressed regret that the ministry of commerce took much longer than required to do away with a condition which caused tremendous loss of business for the small and medium sized exporters. President Union of Small and Medium Enterprises Zulfikar Thaver said the Ministry of Commerce has taken a right decision although belated in view of the fact that the new crop is at the anvil of basmati rice and the new crop of non basmati rice namely irri 6, irri 9, KS282, 386 has already arrived and any further delay in the removal of MEP would have proved harmful. He said the rice exporters were facing hardships as due to the MEP the custom authorities had disallowed the CARE system as they had no reliable system for price check under CARE and exporters were compelled to go through the manual procedure which was delaying shipments. Secondly he said due to the devaluation of the rupee and the reduction in prices of different varieties of rice the MEP had become difficult to achieve and buyers jokingly said it was the maximum export price. Thirdly he said whilst the big exporters have their foreign currency accounts abroad and could easily pay the difference between the contracted price and the MEP the SME exporters were in a very difficult situation as they could not pay the difference and the buyers were in no position to wait for the transfers from unauthorized channels. The SME rice exporters said it was good riddance to bad rubbish as the MEP proved a hurdle and was beyond comprehension and questioned the wisdom behind the MEP which was much higher than the prevailing market prices and curtailed exports and whatever exports took place were invoiced according to the MEP but the difference was paid privately.