Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
HAC to issue Halal compliance certification from this month
Halal compliance certification for Sri Lankan industries will now be issued by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Ltd., (HAC) effective from January 1, 2014.
The company is set up under the Sri Lanka Companies Act No 7 of 2007, and has accreditation in 27 countries as of now.
“Halal compliance certification is an important part of doing business in the world today, and as such Sri Lankan Companies gearing their products to the export market, would find that this is an international standard that has to be followed, in order to do business in some key markets across the world. Therefore, HAC will meet a commercial requirement as this certification is like any other compliance standard, such as SLS or ISO,” said Ali Fatharally, CEO of HAC.
The compliance certification is a very thorough process to assure required standards for a wide range of industries which include FMCG, healthcare, pharmaceutical, etc., and HAC has a qualified technical team to handle the scientific process behind this compliance certification.
“All our internal processors are transparent and audited by reputed international firms,” said the CEO.
HAC is primarily, a not for profit organization which is founded and managed by some of Sri Lanka’s top professionals who assures the country’s business community that international best practices will be maintained in Halal certification, whilst keeping within the guidelines.
“We can’t go beyond the fact that even though this certification has scientific and commercial implications, it is also based on religious and cultural principles. This certification is to ensure that consumers’ right of choice for Halal compliant products and services is facilitated in a responsible manner. One must also take into consideration a large international consumption market where Sri Lankan produce can be sold with such certification. It is a fact that there are close on 2 billion Muslims over the world who would exclusively buy Halal certified products,” said Ali Fatharally.
According to global research firm AT Kearney, the global Halal market is estimated at US$ 2 trillion, making it one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. This comprises of 67 percent of Food & Beverage, 22 percent of pharmaceuticals and 10 percent personal care and cosmetics.
“There is a high demand from commercial establishments in the country for this compliance certification. Already, 195 Sri Lankan companies, catering to both local and international markets, have requested HAC for certification and we are now auditing their manufacturing standards. HAC plans to speed up the process so that there will not be any impediments placed in the path of regular commerce in Sri Lanka,” added Ali Fatharally.
Halal compliance certification involves in depth auditing and monitoring and since it deals with various manufactories’, there is a team of trained technicians, food technologists and supervisors spread across the country to monitor compliance. However HAC is also specific that this accreditation is not a ‘must’ for local commerce.
“This certification is not forced upon anybody and HAC was established to cater to a national need and as far as we are concerned, there is no compulsion for any business to be Halal compliant. Also as much as we say we are a not for profit organisation, it does not mean our services are gratis. We employ a large number of professionals to ensure that best practices are maintained in this certification process. And therefore have to meet the cost in supporting the mechanism we have put in place,” said the CEO of HAC. Therefore whether or not the project continues, the government would not incur any loss,” he added. Meanwhile, KTCPL has informed the UDA that it is not agreeable to pay the Land Lease Tax of 15 percent amounting to Rs. 749.25 million., as the regulation was introduced following the signing of the agreement with the UDA and has requested that the Land Lease Tax be waived off while adding that the balance payment of Rs. 639.5 million due in respect of the Land Cost, will be made only after the Land Lease Tax issue is sorted out.
The Urban Development Authority is in agreement with this proposition and is in the process of accommodating the KTCPL request which is expected to be finalized within one month.
The Minister who also commented on questions raised concerning the Shangri-La project and the Crown investments project said, “In relation to the Crown investments project, the government has provided approval to construct a hotel and they have four more years to complete their construction. As for the Shangri-La project, they have presented us with an action plan according to which they were due to begin the constructions by January 2014. True to the plan, they have already handed over the piling to the Nawaloka group.”