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Support dairy sector

PAKISTAN is ranked amongst the three or four countries in
Asia and the Pacific region that are the world’s top dairy producing countries. The sector indeed has a big potential but it needs to be made more sustainable and competitive by extending all out support to it. This means helping smallholder farmers gain greater access to markets and services and develop successful dairy business models to increase domestic production.
As the government is in the budget preparation mode, Pakistan Dairy Association is contacting the country’s policy makers to seek some relief in the sales tax regime. The Association’s delegation met Adviser on Commerce Razaq Dawood in Lahore on Wednesday informing him that the growth of the dairy industry had been going down since 2016 as that was the year when the industry touched a record high of around 1400 million litres of consumption. Indeed the slide in this important sector of our economy should be a cause of major concern for the authorities concerned. One of the major reasons behind this is that the previous government through Finance Act 2015 and 2016 had imposed ten percent sales tax on the concentrated milk powder and allied products such as cream, yogurt, cheese butter, whey and fat filled milk. The fact of the matter is that in the last five years, Foreign Direct Investment in the dairy industry was recorded at one billion dollars whilst now more countries are evincing their interest in the food and dairy sector. We, therefore, will urge both the federal and provincial governments to sit with the representatives of the industry and address their genuine grievances and provide them incentives in the form of concessions in taxes and duties in order to one again put this industry on the growth trajectory. By increasing domestic productin along with value addition and ensuring international quality standards, we can earn foreign exchange through exports of dairy products.