LAHORE: Agriculture and livestock are pivotal pillars of strong economic growth for any nation. Pakistan is rich in both it certainly has lacked the capacity to exploit the abundance of these resources.

These views were expressed by the exporters of fresh fruits, vegetables and halal meat while participating in a special meeting arranged by the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade to address the impediments being faced by them.

The meeting was chaired by the Punjab Minister for Industries and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal, while Punjab Board of Investment and Trade Chief Executive Officer Dr Erfa Iqbal, agri-food and halal meat exporters and Senior representation from the State Bank of Pakistan, Civil Aviation Authority, Customs, PIA, Trade Development Authority Pakistan, Animal Husbandry and Quarantine Department, Local Government and Community Development Department, Livestock and Dairy and Plant Protection Department were present on the occasion.

Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) arranged this meeting in continuation of a larger dialogue conducted earlier in March to address the impediments faced by exporters across sectors. The meeting held detailed discussions on numerous issues faced by exporters of fruits, vegetables and halal meat with their concerned government departments and suggested a number of proposals for their amicable resolution.

CEO, PBIT Dr Erfa Iqbal while welcoming the participants said that continuous interaction with stakeholders shows that government is determined to resolve the issues of international traders to materialize the dream of economic independence.

Addressing the participants, Provincial Minister for Industry and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal said that the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan is to increase exports by resolving the issues of exporters on priority basis as the government will not allow any obstacles in this process. All the problems of exporters would be solved and the Federal Government would also be contacted to resolve the issues related to the federation. He said that PBIT is not simply acting as a facilitator rather it is working with an approach of bringing all the stakeholders within and outside of the government together to streamline and boost the national income by promoting business friendly environment.

The participating exporters expressed satisfaction and optimism on the initiative taken by the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade for gathering the concerned and associated government departments on their platform to resolve the obstructions and barriers which are being faced during the process of exports.

Participants of the meeting expressed their concerns and said that establishment of a dry port in Sargodha is the dire need of time. They also demanded uniformity in the procedure for value assessment in G D Form, along with highlighting the problems being faced for acquiring offload shipment e-form and variations in weighing. Halal meat exporters demanded strict implementation on rules regarding slaughtering of useful animals, removal of quarantine fee, control on all disease, provision of free medicines to farmers and reduction in the time of shipment.

Taking all the stake holders into confidence, Mian Aslam Iqbal stated that the government was fully aware of the perturbing problems being faced by the exporters, and is making all out sincere efforts for early amicable solution to these problems.