KARACHI: The Ministry of Finance is holding up around Rs26 billion on account of Export Development Fund that should be used for the promotion of export activities only, alleged the Pakistan Leather Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Plgmea) on Monday.

The Export Development Surcharge (EDS) is being collected at 0.25 per cent on all categories of exports, except defence exports, since 1999. The Export Development Funds Act was amended in 2005 which made it mandatory for the Finance Division to transfer the entire amount of EDS collected in a fiscal to the Ministry of Commerce.

Patron-in-chief Plgmea Fawad Ijaz Khan blamed the finance ministry for not transferring the EDS to the commerce ministry.

In a statement, he said that ever since the im­­p­lementation of the EDF Act, from 2006-07 the finance ministry had been transferring negligible amount to the line ministry responsible for export promotion. He said the EDS collection during 2013-14 stood at around Rs6bn but Rs1bn was disbursed.

He suggested that EDS collection should be deposited in a separate account maintained by the commerce ministry rather than depositing it into the government treasury.

Over the last three years several export promotion projects were approved by the EDF board but unfortunately funding for these projects was not made available. He urged the government to stop collecting the levy of 0.25pc EDS till the finance ministry clears total funds (Rs26bn) collected to the commerce ministry.

Published in Dawn February 17th , 2015

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