Promotion of seed sector: Governor asks local companies to prepare proposal in one week
LAHORE: Punjab Governor Baligh Ur Rehman has tasked the local seed companies to prepare a comprehensive proposal and submit in a week to promote the local seed sector, encouraging local production of hi-tech hybrid seeds and transfer of technology to achieve higher per acre yield and saving the farmers from expensive or poor quality seeds.
The governor assigned this task to a delegation of the Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) which called on him led by its Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik to apprise the governor about the negative impact of imposition of 17 percent sales tax on import of seeds on the agricultural sector of Pakistan.
The governor assuring to take up this issue at the highest level also asked the PHHSA to prepare some workable action plan for promoting the local seed industry. The governor also took up the issue with the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday who assured him to look into this issue and resolve it at the earliest.
PHHSA Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik disclosed this while addressing a press conference on Monday at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI). LCCI Senior Vice-Chairman Rehman Aziz Chan and others were also present on the occasion.
Malik said they are not advocating against imposition of GST only on hybrid seed but the whole seed sector as seed of vegetables and other crops are also imported. He said hybrid seed of rice and maize is only available in the country and both are a success story as these have jacked up the production of both these crops significantly adding to the profit and prosperity of the farmer.
He was of the view that imposition of this tax would also hamper the efforts of China to boost our agricultural sector in CPEC Phase-II.
Malik said the government should take immediate measures such as provision of government land for seed production, removal of present strict condition of security bonds for the new registration and renewal of the registered seed companies and reducing the turnover tax from one percent to 0.20 percent like other sectors to promote local seed industry and research & development for local seed production.
The gradual steps towards import substitution by imposition of stepwise regulatory duty on imports of seeds to provide impetus for existing and future players to enter into local R&D, production of seeds and reduced reliance on imported hi-tech seed is also being proposed by the PHHSA.
He said they will also be proposing real incentives and tax exemption/holiday for seed producers and exporters and honouring the high performing seed companies with government civil awards etc.
Concluding his remarks, he urged the government to withdraw sales tax and make a high-level committee to deliberate on PHHSA proposals and formulate short- medium-and long-term policies for the growth of high-tech seed sector with ultimate aim of achieving economic prosperity and food security.