Oilseeds imports decline on levy of 20 percent sales tax

KARACHI (August 05 2003) : The volume of import of edible oilseeds has declined considerably after the government imposed 20 percent sales tax on import of oilseeds in the 2003-04 budget.

The importers practically switched over to the import of canola oil instead of soyabean oil from the United States.

After the budget up till now, only 175,000 tons import of canola oilseeds has been booked.

According to sources, the edible oilseed crushers are awaiting the arrival of local oilseed which mostly consists of cottonseed.

It is expected to arrive in the market some time next month.

The major oilseed crops in the country include cottonseed, rape seed, mustard, sunflower and canola.

It may be recalled that before the budget, the solvent extraction units were to paying 10 percent only of C&F value of imports. Consequently, the imports of oilseeds increased from 22,000 metric tons in 1996-97 to around 538,000 tons in 2001-02.

It may be mentioned here that Pakistan Oilseeds Development Board, established in 1994-95 to encourage oilseeds cultivation, has practically failed in its efforts During 2001-02 the production of non-traditional oilseeds was only 243,000 tons providing 97,200 tons edible oil which is only 6 percent of the total requirements of the edible oils of the country.

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