KARACHI -  Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Executive Committee Members Fehmida Jamali, Abdul Rahim Janoo and Mian Usman Zulfiqar on Friday showed displeasure that Commerce Ministry and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) CEO once again ignored Horticulture and Rice Sector in the PM’s exports incentive package.

They said, “We must not forget that exports of the country have decreased except fruits and vegetables' export, mainly due to efforts of horticulture exporters”.

As fruits and vegetables have helped increase the country's exports by 10 percent, adding that the said exports could reach $7 billion, if special incentives given to this sector, they added. Despite the verbal assurances were given by the government on this issue, but the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved the same incentive package without any revision, they added. Similarly, just after one day of the announcement of the package, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) wrote a letter to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, asking him to include the horticulture sector in the Rs180 billion package. “We can immediately raise Pakistan’s horticulture exports to $1 billion if we get support of the government,” said PFVA Chairman Abdul Malik in the letter. The letter said the government should provide 5 percent incentive on freight-on-board (FOB) value and a three-year holiday from the 1.25 percent tax including withholding tax (WHT) and Export Development Fund (EDF).

FPCCI Vice President Riaz Khattak argued that internationally horticulture sector has been gaining importance since last two decades in world trade.  The fact is that in recent years, developing countries have created a space for themselves in this market. But they are not able to move beyond four to five percent of the world trade and in comparison Pakistan's share is just 0.3 percent. “However it may recall here under Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) for 2015-18, the commerce ministry has identified four areas and horticulture is one of them but no incentive was announced in the package”, he remarked.

He said despite the offer of incentives to textile exporters in the package, the performance of “inept export managers” and CEO of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was visible.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan CEO should decide first whether he was interested in Chambers of Commerce or in its official position, he questioned. Khattak also pointed out that India had used protectionist policies very effectively and now its exports were worth nearly $300 billion.