Rice exporters unhappy with govt over being neglected in fixed energy rate facility

ISLAMABAD: As the government has approved fixed electricity rates for selected export sectors of the country to facilitate exporters, the rice exporters have expressed their concern that despite being a major contributor, the rice sector has been neglected.

Through a notification issued here on October 19, 2022, the Ministry of Energy has fixed the electricity rate for the five export-oriented industries including textiles, leather, carpet, surgical and sports goods.

According to Taufiq Ahmed, former Vice President of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), the sector, despite contributing $2.5 billion in the exports of the country, was not included in the fixed energy facility.

“Even sectors having less than the contribution of rice in exports have been included in the list. Unfortunately we, despite competing, India, the major competitor, have been neglected,” he said, adding that the export of rice could go up to $3 billion if the sector is given the due attention.

“The rice exporters are now facing the huge challenge of competing with India in the international market as the exporters in neighboring countries comparatively enjoy good crops, stable currency and lower rate of dollar. We are unfortunately expecting a setback under the prevailing situation,” the rice exporter claimed.

As per the notification of the ministry of energy, the energy rate, “Regionally Competitive Energy Rates for Export Oriented Sectors” would be available for the exporter from October 1 to June 2023.

Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce, through a summary had requested ECC to approve the fixed Rs 19.99/kWh all-inclusive rate for the five sectors. The same was approved by ECC on October 10, 2022. Following the approval from ECC and cabinet the ministry of energy has asked all DISCOs (including K-Electric) to provide electricity on fixed rate to the five sectors.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Mohammad Ishaq Dar had announced the relief measure, saying that the finance ministry would bear around Rs100 billion for the period of one year, which was the difference of actual and subsidized rate.

Earlier, the government provided the electricity at the rate of US 9 cents, which was to continue only for two months.

Dar claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) government had provided Rs147 billion targeted relief or Duty Drawback to exporters back in 2017, and resultantly the exports were increased by 12.7 percent.


Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


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