The Special committee of National Assembly (NA) on Agriculture Products held a meeting on Monday in Islamabad presided by the Speaker NA, Asad Qaiser.
The meeting was attended by Asad Umer (Minister for planning), Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi) & Federal Minister of National Food Security & Research ( Fakhar Imam ), Minister for Aviation ( Ghulam Sarwar Khan ), Ms. Famida Mirza , Opposition leader Naveed Qamar, CEO- PIA ( Air Commodore Arshad Malik) & Federal Secretaries.
Waheed Ahmed, the Patron-in-chief of PFVA participated in this meeting through a video conference and apprised the participants of the barriers hindering export of mangoes. Waheed Ahmed thanked participants as well chairman of the special committee for including issues on export of mangoes as part of agenda of this meeting and extended patient hearing to the problem of mango exporters. Waheed Ahmed informed that due to opening of Pak-Iran border for only thrice days a week and that too for a limited duration, the export of mangoes to Iran is in real jeopardy. The limited number of trucks which come from Iran to Pakistan are utilized for exporting mangoes to Iran which is far less than the demand of mangoes in Iran.
Similarly, the participants were briefed about issues being encountered in export of mango by Air and problems experienced from the National Carrier (PIA) due to inadequate facilities & high freight charges. The participants, keeping in view the current awful state of economy & and likely huge financial losses to the Agriculture sector, assured to render all possible support in resolution of the problems confronted by the Association in export of mangoes at the earliest. The Federal Ministers extended firm assurances that they would spare no efforts for enhancement of exports and further growth of the Agriculture sector through close co-ordination among the concerned Ministries and departments.
During the meeting it was unanimously agreed that the number of days per week as well as duration for each day would be extended for export of mangoes to Iran and the number of trucks coming from Iran to Pakistan would also be multiplied.
The Committee also instructed the national carrier to extend cooperation and support to the mango exporters. Speaking on the occasion, Waheed Ahmed told that by increasing the share of PIA in export volume of mangoes, the valuable foreign exchange being paid to the foreign carriers as freight charges for export mangoes can also be saved and this saved amount would be translated into revenue generation for the national carrier.
On advise of the committee, a meeting has been scheduled today between the mango exporters of the PFVA and a team of PIA led by the CEO, Arsha Malik. The committee on Interior affairs has been directed to send it’s recommendations on issues related to export of mangoes to Iran. The special committee would send it’s recommendations to the Ministry of Interior for immediate action.
According to Waheed Ahmed the serious & keen approach displayed by the participating Federal Ministers during this meeting in extending patience hearing to the issues of the exports and assurances in removal of barriers to the enhancement of export is a clear reflection of the sincere and concerted efforts by team members of the Primer to steer the country out of the current situation and revival of economy at the earliest & by finding realistic solutions against the stiff global challenge of COVID -19 which has terribly impacted our economy.