2 billion annually.

Submitting few proposals for the revival of the sector, REAP Chairman Shafique Chaudhry said on Sunday that in view of decline in rice exports from Pakistan, the State Bank of Pakistan should consider the export performance singly, instead of twice, for export refinance scheme.

He said that for the last couple of years, constant decline was being noticed in the export of rice due to low prices in the international market and lot of other factors, which caused huge losses to the rice exporters.
Shafique demanded that the withholding tax of 1.
5 percent be withdrawn.
“The exporters should not be treated as the withholding agents for local sale,” he added.

He also demanded exemption from duties and taxes on the import of rice machinery – processing & husking plant, besides ERF rates for the rice industry may also be brought down to 3.
5 percent at par with the textile sector.

The REAP chairman said that income tax was being charged on electricity bills, which was not being refunded either.
“This doubles taxation on exporters; therefore, it be removed,” he demanded.

He also expressed disappointment over what he called the step-motherly treatment of the rice export industry by the government, adding the sector had been completely neglected in the federal budget 2016-17.

“REAP sent many recommendations for the enhancement of rice exports, which were not considered by the federal government,” he said, and added, “Even a very important suggestion regarding One Window Operation for the collection of all taxes was ignored.

Shafique said that despite very challenging circumstances for the last couple of years, rice exporters were making untiring efforts for the growth of country’s economy.

“Various government departments, such as FBR, EOBI, Market Committee, Social Security, WWF etc are harassing rice exporters and unnecessary amounts are demanded,” he alleged.

He said that sales tax refund claims of the rice exporters were also pending for long, requesting the government to pay these back at the earliest.

Shafique added that he and his colleagues had already requested the prime minister and federal finance minister to declare the rice export sector as a separate industry.

“Rice is the second largest source of earning foreign exchange reserves in Pakistan, but it is very amazing that the rice sector is not considered for the zero-rated status,” he said, and added, “It will dishearten the rice exporters, who are working day and night for the betterment of exports of our country.

He asked the government to extend full cooperation to the sector and give relief to the rice exporters, who, he said, had been suffering from heavy losses for many years.

Article Published on http://nation.com.pk/business/04-Jul-2016/rice-exporters-demand-exemption-from-sales-tax