BFMMA re­sents 25pc in­crease in duty on im­ported milk pow­ders

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH -

SALIM AHMED LA­HORE—The Baby Food Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Mar­keters As­so­ci­a­tion (BFMMA) said that prices of in­fant for­mu­lae would in­crease as a re­sult of a 25% in­crease in duty on im­ported milk pow­ders. The body met af­ter the gov­ern­ment an­nounced that it would in­crease the im­port duty on milk pow­ders to 46%. This, the as­so­ci­a­tion said, will have a detri­men­tal im­pact on the in­dus­try and the con­sumers will end up bear­ing the brunt of it be­cause the ac­cess of peo­ple to pow­der milk for in­fants will be re­duced.

Var­i­ous cat­e­gories of milk pow­ders are used as raw ma­te­ri­als for in­fant for­mu­lae es­sen­tial nutri­tion for ba­bies who are not fed by their moth­ers. Atif Sid­diqui of Nutrico (which mar­kets Mori­nanga), said that the in­crease in cus­tom duty may re­sult in the in­crease of the price of in­fant for­mu­lae. “The gov­ern­ment thinks that in­fant for­mu­lae are prod­ucts con­sumed by the rich. It is not so. Con­sid­er­ing the mal­nu­tri­tion statis­tics in a coun­try like ours, the gov­ern­ment should make the ac­cess to such prod­ucts eas­ier, not harder,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Nu­tri­tional Sur­vey, 43.8% of chil­dren un­der 5 are iron de­fi­cient, 54% chil­dren have Vi­ta­min A de­fi­ciency and 40% have a de­fi­ciency of Vi­ta­min D. S.M. Uzair, CEO Global brands which sells Meiji prod­ucts in Pak­istan and Co­or­di­na­tor (North) for the as­so­ci­a­tion, said, “We ap­peal to Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar to per­son­ally in­ter­vene in this mat­ter in or­der to en­sure that chil­dren un­der five get the nour­ish­ment they need.” The as­so­ci­a­tion, in a meet­ing, also wel­comed the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to con­tinue ze­rorat­ing on in­fant milk. “It is en­cour­ag­ing that the gov­ern­ment has de­cided to con­tinue zero-rat­ing regime on in­fant for­mu­lae,” said Asim Rif­fat, BFMMA Pres­i­dent. “But the in­crease in duty is wor­ry­ing.”

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