Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises UNISAME has urged the federal commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to intervene and resolve the dispute between the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan TDAP and the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan REAP regarding the issue of collection of fees of rice inspection by the Quality Review Committee QRC in the account of QRC or open QRC and REAP joint account as both are issuing contrary notices.
The TDAP has issued an order demanding fees to be paid by pay order/demand draft or cheque in favour of QRC and simultaneously REAP has issued a circular to its members instructing them to issue cheques favouring REAP till such time a joint account is opened for collection of rice inspection fees.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver has advised REAP not to disobey the orders of the Director General TDAP who is also the chairman of QRC and urged the commerce minister to resolve the matter as rice exporters do not know whether to issue cheques in favour of QRC or REAP.
He urged the commerce minister to take notice of the unpleasantness between the TDAP and REAP which is making the rice exporters feel uncomfortable and reflecting badly in the trade circles.
The Union has demanded the dissolution of the QRC as it is serving no practical purpose and has become an impediment for rice exports considering the fact that first of all it is not eligible for pre-shipment inspection PSI, not a third party inspection, not equipped, not recognized nor permitted by the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority PSQCA and giving rise to conflict of interest. PSI is the prerogative of the buyer who nominates the PSI agency and PSI by QRC is a mockery of PSI and most of the time the rice exporters have to undergo double PSI, one by the buyers appointed inspectors and again by QRC which is time consuming and proves costly.
The Union has demanded that if the MOC cannot dissolve the QRC due to legal complications as it has been set up under the trade policy, it can be dissolved in the coming trade policy or amended to function as a committee to help the rice exporters to analyze the grains and offer expert advice for procurement.
The foreign buyers are questioning the fact as to why the MOC is insisting on PSI and how can they trust the Pakistani rice shippers when their own TDAP is not trusting them and compelling them to PSI.
Besides the fact that now the non-basmati varieties like 1121, 386 are more in demand and 1121 is more costly than basmati rice because of its extra long length and excellent cooking and QRC was there to protect the mixture of non-basmati rice with basmati rice but now it is a different matter and QRC is allowing export of 1121 and 386 as basmati rice and the matter is frivolous and uncalled for. It is high time that better sense prevails and the rice exporters are not put to unnecessary exercise just to maintain a body for the sake of not being able to get rid of it.
UNISAME had challenged its formation from its very inception and pointed out the shortcomings and drawbacks and its defective structure.