Smuggling Has Reduced Considerably: Senate Standing Committee

Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Trade Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi has said that smuggling has reduced substantially due to effective measures for its eradication which has supported the local industry and will be instrumental in promoting economic activities and businesses in the country.

He expressed these views while presiding the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce & Trade here at Parliament House.

Mirza Muhammad Afridi appreciated the measures taken in this regard and said that the sick units need to be facilitated to ensure their revival. The committee was apprised about the problems faced by the farmers due to inadequate prices of tomato, onion despite good production this season.

The committee was also briefed about the steps being taken for exploring new markets for dates, tax evasion on computer, laptops and other IT equipment, as well as the issues of under-invoicing.

The Chairman and members of the committee said that the basic purpose is to protect the local industry and its production for overall progress of the country.

Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmad Muhammad Shahi said that due to import of the fruits and vegetable from neighboring countries the local farmers from Balochistan do not get adequate prices of apple, grapes, onion and tomatoes. He said that Ministry of Commerce & Trade should take measures for protection of local farmers and utilization of local production before importing such items.

Secretary Ministry of Commerce assured the committee that the issues will be resolved in collaboration with the Ministry of Food Security. Senator Dilawar Hussain, while talking about Afghan Transit Trade, said that due to the deficiency of trackers, there is huge pressure on transit points. He asserted that an appropriate solution to this should be sorted out.

The Chairman of the committee said that trade is a backbone of the national economy and an appropriate strategy should be followed to promote business activities in the country.

Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawod apprised the committee that State Bank has been approached for the provision of an easy loan through Small and Medium Industries and consultation process for the IT sector is in progress, which will bear positive results. Secretary Commerce informed the Committee that an E-Commerce policy has been introduced and the committee in its next meeting will be informed about a framework in this regard.

Chairman of the Committee appreciated these measures, however, he emphasized that sick units need to be supported so as to cater for the local requirements and as well as the export oriented from such units. Senator Dilawar Khan informed the Committee that Trade and Development Authority (TDAP) could not hold even a single meeting so far. He further informed that he had sought different details from TDAP which have not been provided yet. Senator Mirza Afridi said that TDAP is an important organization, its board should hold regular meetings to proceed on different issues and the people of Pakistan should have access to information.

He further said that question has been raised about Trade and Commercial Attaché posted in different countries. He said that Pakistan produces good quality tobacco.

Trade and Commercial Attaché should improve their efficiency and awareness must be created about Pakistan products in foreign countries. The Committee insisted on the provision of facilities and capacity building of the tobacco farmers in Mardan, Charsada and Swabi districts. Committee was further informed that a project in collaboration with Swabi University has moved ahead. Senator Dilawar Khan emphasized that all the stake holders must be taken into confidence as quality tobacco of the country is produced in these areas and national exchequer gets taxes of worth billions of rupees.

About the export of the dates, the Committee was informed that 70% of dry dates were exported to India and due to suspension of trade with India, farmers have to face huge losses. However, efforts are being made to explore alternative markets for export of the dates and different countries have been contacted in this regard. Chairman Committee emphasized that these efforts must be expedited to avoid losses to the farmers.

Senator Rana Mehmood ul Hassan suggested that a policy for installation of small sugar mills should be introduced to promote compatibility in the market. Secretary Commerce informed the committee that such proposal is already under consideration in different ministries. The Committee was also apprised about clearance of containers at Port Qasim as well as money laundering issues in the country.

The meeting was attended by Senators Mir Kabeer Ahmad Muhammad Shahi, Zeesahn Khanzada, Nuzhat Sadiq, Dilawar Khan, Rana Mehmood ul Hassan, Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce, Secretary Commerce and other senior official of relevant departments.


Source: Propakistani