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June 24, 2019

‘New taxes to increaseprices of chicken, edible oil’


June 24, 2019

LAHORE: New taxation measures announced in the federal budget may lead to increase prices of chicken meat by Rs 20 per kg and Rs 15 per litre of soybean oil.

The federal government has proposed to enhance sales tax on soybean seeds used in poultry feed from six percent to 17 percent. Similarly, there is a proposal to levy 17 per cent sales tax on soybean seeds used for extracting oil. Both these steps would lead to price hike of two key food items, said Dr Muhammad Arshad, former chairman Pakistan Solvent Extractors Association here on Sunday.

He was of the view that the government should carefully look into this issue and should not take any step that could affect the masses. Poultry products are a cheap source of protein for the masses while we are already deficient in the production of edible oil. Such unwise imposition of taxes would be counterproductive as it would put these essential food items out of reach of poor people who are already facing challenge of malnutrition, he said.

Arshad added that growing gap between Pak rupee and US dollar also means further increase in the prices of food items manufactured with imported raw material. He observed that the government should exempt food items from a tax with a view to keep them within the reach of the masses. Like many other countries in the world, he said, “our government should refrain from making food items costly by slapping 'unnecessary' taxes.

Provision of cheap protein is indispensable for the growth of children and young kids as 45 percent of them are already facing menace of stunted growth due to malnutrition.” He expressed reservation over PTI government's approach towards agriculture and food sector, saying that such taxation measures being politically incorrect would badly hit the masses.

Talking about consumption of eggs, Arshad said consumption of protein rich food has been at the lowest level among the masses. Per capita egg consumption is already far below the desirable level of 47 in the country against the recommended level of 300,he said and expressed fear that consumption of eggs would further drop following imposition of higher slabs of taxes by the PTI government. Keeping in view importance of poultry products and edible oil for human health, Dr Arshad demanded of the government to reconsider levy of taxes on soybean seeds.

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