LAHORE -  More than 90 percent of the leather industry is unable to avail the Prime Minister’s incentive package of Rs180 billion announced recently for the export-oriented industries, as the Commerce Ministry has ignored all major finished leather products’ HS Codes in its notification.

Industry sources said that the second biggest export-oriented industry of the country was still deprived of the PM export fund due to sheer negligence of the ministry, which failed to include the export-related HS Codes of finished and tanned leather in the related SRO 62(I)/2017 issued on Feb 2, 2017 despite detailed information provided by the industry.

Pakistan Tanners Association Chairman Anjum Zafar said that prior intimation for all related HS Codes was already given to the Commerce Ministry, Federal Board of Revenue and all other concerned quarters of the government through PTA’s special letter well before time before issuance of the SRO to ensure incorporation of all 11 relevant HS Codes for leather sector.

“When these HS codes were not included in the notification we made inquiry and sent several letters to higher officials of the ministry. It was revealed that SRO 62 was finalized on the Summary moved by the Ministry of Finance without consulting with Ministry of Commerce and relevant Trade Association including Pakistan Tanners Association.”

Anjum Zafar stated that as a result of slackness of the ministry, which missed major HS Codes, more than 90 percent of leather manufacturers and exporters were unable to avail the benefits announced by the government through the Incentive Package announced on Jan 10, 2017. He stated that the package was not useful unless all related HS CODES are included.

According to the industry stakeholders, the major HS Codes included HS Code 4302.1990 representing ‘finished leather of lamb, sheep skin crust, dyed crust leather with hair on suede’; HS Codes 4112.0000/ 4113.1000/ and 4113.9000 representing ‘finished leather of goat, sheep’; HS Codes 4107.1200/ 4107.9200/ 4107.9100’ representing ‘finished leather of cow buffalo’; and ‘HS Code 4302.1910 representing ‘finished leather of lamb, sheep skin with hair on double face’.

The PTA chairman asked Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir to look into this significant matter and order immediate inclusion of the missing HS Codes in the SRO 62(I)/2017 to be effective for GD’s filed for shipment from 16th January 2017.

The industry representatives said that they had already not been given full six months to avail this package so any further cut in days by making this amendment would be very disappointing for them. “It is imperative that this amendment should be made retrospectively from the date of SRO”, they demanded.