KARACHI -

The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the ministry of commerce (MoC) to include rice in addition to wheat for barter with Iran against electricity and stated that it would be a wise step to re-enter the market for selling country’s popular rice varieties to Iran.

President Unisame Zulfikar Thaver said for long the rice exporters have been pleading with the MoC to arrange for currency swap with Iran to enable rice exporters to export Basmati and non-Basmati rice to Iran but due to hitches the arrangement could not be made despite both the countries agreed in principle to swap their currencies.

He said Iran was our traditional market which we lost to India due to absence of payment arrangement as the international agency SWIFT for inwards and outwards remittances removed the facility for Iran to block payments to and from Iran. He said it is pertinent to note that although there is no sanction for export of food and medicine yet exporters were technically disabled to export because of boycott by SWIFT.

The union has urged the MoC to include the commodity of rice in addition to wheat which has been selected to make payment to Iran against the purchase of much-needed electricity. The union invited the attention of the caretaker federal commerce minister Rahimtoola to work swiftly on the subject and finalise inclusion of rice along with wheat in the barter agreement with Iran.