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May 23, 2020

MNFSR to review cotton support price after Eid

Peshawar

May 23, 2020

MULTAN: The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) has decided to review the cotton support price in consultation with the stakeholders after Eid.

Talking to The News, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association former vice chairman Sheikh Asim Rashid said that Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, in a meeting with the PCGA, had assured the stakeholders of reviewing the cotton support price after Eid. The meeting had also developed a consensus to abolish SRO issued to levy 5pc tax on oil seed cake, he added. The government had promised that the tax would not be included in the budget 2020/21, he said, adding that the tax had cast uncertainty over the already fragile cotton industry. He said that the government should protect the rights of cotton growers and ginners from the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA). He regretted that the cotton trade was confronted with crunch due the lack of government attention while low cotton price was adding to the farmers woes.

Sheikh Asim Rashid said that refund claims of withholding tax of cotton ginners should be paid, which had been pending for the last 10 years. He reiterated the demand for relaxation in lockdown for textile, weaving, spinning and other related sectors so that the unsold stock could be disposed of.

PCGA chairman Muhammad Javed Suhail Rehmani demanded the government lift 0.5 million bales of lint stocked with ginneries across the country.

He said that a PCGA delegation had met Minister Syed Fakhar Imam in Islamabad. The PCGA chairman demanded special relief for the ginning industry, facing a critical crisis due to the lockdown and locust attack on premature cotton fields. He demanded provision of high quality certified seeds for the crop, breaking the monopoly of the only buyer in terms of the spinning industry. He demanded a grand operation against the sugar mafia rapidly penetrating in the cotton growing areas. He said that a huge amount of Rs 25 to 30 billion was stuck up in the textile industry due to the worldwide lockdown while 500,000 bales were lying unsold in stock. Now, they were unable to repay bank loans plus mark-up, thus, the government should waive off the mark-up from January to June 2020. He feared that cotton sowing would be badly hit if arrears of the growers were not cleared immediately and the dream of self-sufficiency in cotton could not come true.

The government should announce a bailout package so that payments to the growers could be made possible. Cotton stock must be exempted from sales tax, income tax and other taxes, he demanded. He stressed the need for the revival of the ginning industry, which was facing severe liquidity crunch. He further demanded that electricity tariff must be fixed at Rs10 per unit like other exportable industries.