Taxing dairy industry to be another blow to consumers, farmers
LAHORE—The dairy industry will have no choice but to pass on the price increase to consumers if new taxation measures are imposed as various news reports suggest, said Babur Sultan, Pakistan Dairy Association (PDA) Chairman after an emergency meeting convened by PDA on Thursday. The meeting had been called to discuss the impact of the proposal under consideration by the government that zero-rating be withdraw non-dairy products in the 2016-2017 budget.
The members concluded that there will be wide ranging, negative impacts on the dairy sector as well as the lives and health of millions of Pakistanis. The members said that they could not afford to absorb the increase in costs, and would have to increase the price of milk by Rs7 to Rs8 per litre. Packaged milk is only 6% of the total milk consumed in Pakistan while milk and dairy products account for 22% of kitchen expenditure, which wheat (12%).
Babur Sultan, PDA Chairman, said, “We fear that if the zero-rating regime is withdrawn, it will result in a decline of over 20% in the sale of packaged milk. Consumers will, therefore, be pushed to consume unhygienic and unprocessed loose milk.” He said that the government needed to continue the zero-rating taxation regime, re-transpose dairy products from 8th to 5th schedule of the Sales Tax Act 1990 and refund the full amount of outstanding sales tax refunds pending for the last many years in order to boost investor confidence.
Ikram ul Haq, Vice Chairman of the PDA, added that it would be a lose-lose situation for the government, the revenues that the government gets from the processed dairy industry will fall substantially. But that’s nothing compared to the adverse impact on the livelihoods of 600,000 farmers associated with dairy. is more than