Unisame for granting industry status to rice sector

Lahore – The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged Pervaiz Malik, the federal commerce minister, to grant the status of industry to the rice sector, on the basis of its merits.

UNISAME President Zulfikar Thaver said the rice growers, millers, processors and exporters all contributed towards the economic growth of the country collectively and hence the sector deserved the status of industry for its recognition and promotion on fast track basis.

Thaver said all rice sector stakeholders, who had formed a rice syndicate and were on the same page, demanded and urged the ministry to oblige the sector with industry status due to its contribution to the GDP and economic growth which was substantial. 

He emphasised the need for ending the step-motherly treatment, which was causing hardships to the sector which was second to the textile sector in every respect and met all the parameters set for gaining the industry status. “It is indeed surprising and this omission is perturbing to the stakeholders. It is by all means a full-fledged industry, as it employs huge number of people from the farms to the markets: both domestic and overseas, and is day by day getting modernized and on recognition as an industry it will be promoted and developed more,” Thaver argued.

The domestic turnover tax on rice of 0.2 percent imposed on turnover of Rs two million is unwise as during new crop arrival season it gets exhausted in couple of days and two million limit for the fiscal year is unrealistic. Secondly rice needs 0 rating like the five other sectors exempted from taxes. Thirdly it is important to make the export of rice competitive to meet global challenges he pinpointed.

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