Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Standing Committee on Halal Food Export’s Chairman Nasib Ahmad Saifi has urged the government not to allow setting up of more slaughterhouses in the country rather focus on smooth and profitable running of existing abattoirs.
“We have over 30 slaughterhouses in the country and more are in pipelines. Total slaughtering and processing capacity of existing abattoirs is roughly around 25,000 tons per day but because of critically high prices of livestock and falling prices of Halal meat in international market, these are working just around 40 to 45 percent of it and consequently suffering heavy losses,” Saifi said while talking to Business Recorder here on Wednesday.
He was of the view that the government should focus on the Halal food especially of Halal meat export sector. Global per annum transaction of Halal food trade is US 700 billion dollars and Pakistan’s share in it is very negligible despite being an Islamic country, regretted Saifi and added that surprisingly non-Islamic countries were taking more advantage of that trade.
Sharing various proposals, which according to him he continued to send the federal and provincial governments time and again, Saifi said the need of time was to promote industry specially the manufacturing units for reduction in unemployment rate and better economy. “Instead of compensating manufacturers and giving them subsidies, the government is levying heavy taxes. Even Quarantine Department was taking Rs 120 for beef carcass and Rs 20 for mutton carcass but now they are taking almost double charges,” he added.
“We are not demanding subsidy from Quarantine Department but at least our fee should be reduced so that we can promote Halal meat export from Pakistan,” Saifi pleaded. He said loadshedding and shortage of gas had also badly hit Halal meat sector and now stakeholders wanted to arrange their own fuel. “A German company is willing to provide this sector 0.5 megawatt of electricity by compressing bio-gas with the latest technology. Raw material for bio-gas is being produced in such a huge quantity in our own Abattoirs that a lot of it is being wasted,” he added.
Saifi suggested that the government should contribute 50 percent ie Rs 40 million of total expenses of Rs 80-90 million for availing of that German offer. “Through this project we not only can provide electricity and gas to our factories for next 25 years but also can provide to the government and increase Halal meat exports 2-3 times.”
LCCI Standing Committee Chairman also demanded that the government should provide interest-free loans to meat exporters for 20 years because they did not want business with involvement of interest.
Talking about live animals smuggling, Saifi observed that without stoppage of livestock smuggling, which was one of the most important causes of increase in prices, issues faced by that sector could not be resolved. He said especially smuggling or export of female animals should be discouraged strictly. “Our production of livestock is rapidly decreasing because of slaughtering of female animals which must be strictly stopped,” Saifi also proposed.
Saifi also called for subsidies to farmers to make feedlot fattening farms for beef and mutton. The government must do a consistent and continuous work to increase the productivity of old breeds of animals in Pakistan and arrange training programmes for the briefing of farmers accordingly. Pakistan had super quality cow and buffalos specially Sahiwal and Cholistan’s animals had even no need of new techniques of increasing production, Saifi was of the opinion.
He also said that overseas Pakistani should be encouraged by the government and abattoir owners for investment in livestock and dairy development so that the Halal meat and milk products could be available and exported in huge quantity and at economic rates. Talking about introduction of new markets for Pakistan’s Halal meat, he said the commercial officers appointed abroad must play their role to introduce Halal food markets in new countries specially Turkey, Central Asia, Iran, Iraq, Lebnan, Egypt, Marrakech, etc.
Tax deducted at source should be reduced up to 0.50 percent so that all exporters could show their full value of export and whole tax could be submitted in national reserves, he said, adding legal export would automatically be increased. “Air line spaces are very difficult to capture for meat exporters. Necessary steps must be taken to provide them special favour in space bookings and freight reductions.”
Talking about another issue, Saifi said that parking facility must be provided at airports and in case of delay in flight AC units of vehicles should be switched on, adding that all international airports must be facilitated with cold stores.