KARACHI: The year 2019 has turned out to be another low-growth year for Pakistan’s poultry sector, which is at its all-time low, owing to various tax anomalies and the unfriendly export environment, as even those poultry businesses in Pakistan running state-of-the-art units now find it difficult to carry on.
In the year 2019, Pakistan again failed to make its presence felt in the $3.7 trillion international Halal food market. Due to unjustified taxation policies during 2018-19, the poultry industry was able to process less than 5 per cent of the total broilers produced in the country, in spite of being the world’s 9th largest chicken-producing nation with about 1.2 million broilers produced in the year.
Contrarily, the rest of the world’s major broiler producers and even those countries with a marginal poultry production process more than 95 per cent of the total broilers produced.
To make things worse, finished poultry products under FTA with Malaysia are allowed to be imported in Pakistan free of import duty and sales tax while from China, a preferential rate of 10pc customs duty is charged for the purpose. In contrast, the Pakistani government has imposed a heavy customs duty, sales tax and additional regulatory duties on the import of raw materials that produce poultry feed, thus making it impossible for local poultry producers to compete in the international export market.
In order to restrict the import of value-added poultry products, the government must immediately impose a regulatory duty of at least 40 per cent on imports of finished products, processed chicken and tab eggs. This would give the poultry exporters a much-needed space they require for growth.
Also, to curb illegal imports, global chicken importers must comply with Pakistan’s Halal Standards, and every consignment of poultry product reaching Pakistan must be accompanied by a certificate issued and authenticated by the Halal Regulatory Authority nominated by the importing country. This practice is quite common in other Muslim countries.