ISLAMABAD: The Export Development Fund (EDF) Board on Monday urged the finance ministry to release the withheld amounts collected from export proceeds meant for implementation of export promotion measures.
The board meeting, headed by its Chairman Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has recommended to the finance ministry to release the amount as per the Export Development Act 1999.
An amendment was made in the EDF in 2005, which binds the ministry of finance to transfer the entire collection of export development surcharge (EDS) to the EDF for spending on the export promotion measures from the country.
The EDS is levied on all exports at the rate of 0.25 per cent of fob value of goods. As per law, the entire receipts of EDS are transferred to EDF in the following year. The ministry of commerce used these funds for implementation of measures to facilitate and enhance exports from the country.
Since 2005-06, it is estimated that more than Rs16 billion EDF was diverted by the finance ministry for bridging the yawning current expenditures deficit, leading to poor implementation of export promotion measures in the last years.
Of the total amount collected, the Musharraf led government had withheld only Rs1.266bn. While the PPP led coalition government has broken the previous record and withheld all time high of Rs14bn in the last five years.
The board meeting urged the finance ministry for the release of the withheld amount and allocation of funds according to the Act in future.
The meeting approved funds for the ongoing projects like fibre classification system of ministry of textile, vapor heat treatment (VHT) for fresh fruits and national trade and transport facilitation corridor (NTTFC).
The funds approved for the new projects include cotton ginning research centre in Multan, Garment City and Shrimp Farming in Karachi and setting up of a Saarc Chamber display centre and research institute.
The meeting also approved a standard format for project appraisal, monitoring and evaluation. Currently, there was no format available with the ministry of commerce.
The ministry of food security was asked to recommend food products and projects for its export promotion from the country. Special focus will be given to products of the under developed areas and women entrepreneurs.
The EDF funds will be specially focused on enhancement of competitiveness especially for the data sector. Similarly, projects will be initiated for other fruits as well.
The stakeholders were also asked for submitting project for irradiation as quarantine treatment in mangoes, which is demand of the importers.