Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fruit exporters seek VHT Plant installation

By Syed Sajid Aziz
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

While the axe is falling on Pakistan’s fruits’ exports to European Union (EU) due to fruit fly’s threat, the much talked about Vapour Heat Treatment (VHT) Plant has been cleared by the customs department and dumped at the backyard warehouse of Expo Center by Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).

Though the VHT Plant was imported in very dubious circumstances by the previous management of the TDAP, headed by Tariq Puri, about two years back, it however, became ultimate need of the hour as Pakistan’s fruits and vegetables exports remained under threat due to various reasons particularly fruit fly.

While stakeholders have earnestly demanded TDAP’s present leadership to install it immediately at some independent location so that country’s exporters could be able to utilize it and get away from possible threat of ban on their exports as EU has already slapped a ban on Indian mango due to the same reason.

According to the sources among stakeholders the country has to pay a massive amount on VHT Plant’s duties and demurrages and the cost of the machinery import has shot up to several millions. The TDAP has to pay an amount of Rs33 million in demurrages only, they say.

Despite a big urgency the new leadership of the TDAP is in deep slumber as the Secretary, a junior level officer, has her own priorities. She has looked more interested in foreign trips and some fashions shows than taking the responsibility to safeguard country’s exports.

It is pertinent to note that exports during April and may have dropped significantly, sources said adding that the newly appointed Chief Executive from private sector has proceeded to long vacation after making tall claims of bringing Pakistan’s exports to over $50 billion, while exporters have been left to suffer once again.

Sources said that while VHT Plant remains dumped in warehouse for the last several days and stakeholders are crying for its earliest possible installation as the mango crop is fully ripe and ready for export; the TDAP management has left it on the mercy of vested interests.