KARACHI - The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (Unisame) has appreciated the bold and positive steps taken by the Ministry of Commerce (MINCOM) through the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to disband the Quality Review Committee (QRC) and serving one-month final notice to the staff with golden handshake.

The notice period expires on 6th August 2015 and it will be an end to the faulty system created by vested interest several years ago. Rice exporters will be free to export their rice without PSI by QRC.

President Unisame Zulfikar Thaver said the committee had become futile and also a hurdle in the export of branded rice. The rice exporters needed a free hand to export rice under their own brands with basmati and other superior varieties of rice which is non-basmati.

Besides it was against the concept of pre-shipment inspection (PSI) which is always by a third party. The QRC was abused by its former managers who used it as a tool to subdue their competitors and MINCOM realised this fact and shifted the premises of QRC to an independent location and also took the management under their control to make it independent, transparent and impartial.

Nevertheless the system was challenged and caused embarrassment to the law makers. PSI is the prerogative of the buyer and it is always the buyer who nominates the PSI company.

Pakistani rice is considered tasty and even our 1121 which is non basmati has an aroma and for this reason Pakistani 1121 rice is sold at a premium as compared to Indian 1121 rice. Of course our basmati rice is the best in the world and elongates on cooking and is tasty and has a special flavour with aroma. Every effort must be made to maintain its distinguished position.

Unisame is thankful to Hamid Malhi the managing director of Basmati Rice Growers Association of Pakistan for advocating the case for GI registration in the international forum.

Thaver thanked the print and electronic media, the committee and patrons of Unisame who stood behind him in the cause of disbandment of QRC and facilitating the rice exporters.