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LAHORE: All Pakistan Meat Processors & Exporters Association (APMPEA) has urged the government to incentivize the meat exporters by withdrawing all taxes on the electricity being used by the processing plants and abattoirs and in response to it exporters will double the halal meat and its products exports from the country in the next few years.

APMPEA Chairman Nasib Ahmad Saifi talking to Business Recorder on Tuesday said that the government is receiving exactly the same amount of taxes from the meat processing plants and abattoirs on the electricity bills. 'So if we supposedly are using electricity of 100,000 rupees in a month, then we have to pay the same amount of taxes on the power bill,' he pointed out.

He said that it is also astonishing that at present we are receiving bills of the same amount which we were receiving in the past without any load-shedding. He claimed that their plants are experiencing power outages frequently and the span of this outage can be up to four hours. Nevertheless, despite these power outages we are receiving heavy bills. He said that we have to run our plants on generators as we need cooling and refrigeration but it cost the plants at over Rs 52 per unit which makes the meat processors and exporters expensive.

Saifi said that the abattoirs and processing plants should be given interest-free loans so they could go for solar installations and meet their power demand and keep their wheel running to meet their export orders in time.

APMPEA Chairman said that the government should give this sector status of Industry which is being denied to it despite it is a foreign exchange earning hand of the country. He claimed that if given status of Industry, this sector can fetch more than what it is fetching currently. He said that expansion would come into this sector and it would create more job opportunities for the youth and more revenue for the government. He said that there is a big demand for halal meat and halal meat products in the international market and a little push is needed to earn a good name for Pakistan and for it the government has to back this sector.

His other proposals include the restoration of air freight rebate, bringing down airlines fare for this sector, charging no taxes on utility bills for slaughterhouses. Exporters should be given relief in withholding tax and it should be brought down to 1/3 percent from the existing one percent. New connection of natural gas should be given to abattoirs and meat processing units and gas tariffs for exporting units should also be brought without any tax.

The Halal meat processing units should be given interest-free loans for the installation of value-added processing machinery. Value addition can earn us a big place in the global halal meat market, Nasib Ahmad Saifi concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020