Salt Iodization Program being compromised over a cargo hold

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Ismail Suttar, Chairman Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SMAP) reaches out to Finance Minister, Ishaque Dar for immediate attention to the Salt Iodization Program.Salt industry in Pakistan has grown massively in recent years with combined efforts of the Government, NGO’s and industrial stakeholders.

In a statement, Ismail Suttar said that the tripartite has been seemingly successful in raising awareness of Iodized Salt programs and has received global laurels for its efforts that were failed twice previously in 1980’s and then in 2010.”Back then the salt Iodization program was considered as one of the best strategies to fortify the country with a basic nutrient through the cheapest and fastest consuming methods, but with dedicated hard work the Pakistan’s salt Iodization program has been recognized as one of the success stories for achieving almost 80% iodization from 7% in the shortest span of time.”

Chairman SMAP added that Salt iodization has been adopted as the main strategy to eliminate iodine-deficiency disorders by the World Health Organization. Iodized Salt provides necessary nutrients to its consumers of all ages for a healthy brain development and WHO prefers household access to iodized salt to be more than 90%.With great fear, the Chairman SMAP expressed his concern over a pressing matter that the salt industry is running out of its key ingredient to process iodized salt and that the stock can last a week or two at maximum while the freshly imported cargo of potassium iodate is being held at Karachi port for past 15 days incurring heavy demurrage on a daily basis.

He further said that the minute but most valuable ingredient for producing iodized salt is procured by a local company with the help of the ministries and NGO’s and then supplied in small quantities all over Pakistan to salt manufacturers and processors to facilitate the industry specially the small players which are in significantly large numbers.

Ismail emphasised on the fact that the level of Household consumption of Iodized salt in Pakistan is over 70% and if the country will go dry on iodized salt, then the masses will be deprived of a basic nutrient that will lead to more difficult challenges in the years to come in terms of deteriorated civilians’ health.Chairman SMAP requested the Ministry of Finance to take urgent notice of the situation to avoid all efforts to go in vain that had been achieved after efforts stretched over the span of two decades. He further clarifies that more delay will not only risk generational health but will put more SMEs on the verge of shutting down their operations that will eventually lead to an irrecoverable economic crisis.