SAP Wants Representation On Provincial Seed Councils

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) has demanded that SAP should be given representation on the Provincial Seed Councils. In a letter written by the SAP Chairman Chaudhry Asif Ali to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Asif said claimed that the SAP had not been consulted in recent exercise of the government to amend the Seed Rules and the move of categorizing the seed companies on the basis of Tehsil, District, Provincial and National levels or placing performance guarantees on the seed companies is tantamount to restrict the business. He added that every Pakistani should be entitled to do business at any location. The letter said most of the companies producing the “certified seed” are located within Punjab and sell seed across other provinces. The letter further said varietal evaluation system is currently at the provincial level and needs to the moved to the National Seed Council. Moreover the criteria for the evaluation of the varieties need to be revised.

The varietal evaluation system at the National Seed Council level will ensure harmonious approval system for companies across the country and allow the private sector a higher success rate for bringing new varieties. Similarly, the Association said despite the National Cotton Varietal Trials, the provincial authorities conduct the spot examinations which is a visual observation and not a scientific/ statistical method for evaluation. Moreover, it is conducted at a location in Khanewal which is no longer the hub for best cotton varieties.

It further said that income out of sale of seeds be exempted from levy of Income Tax under the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 through second schedule, alternatively the turnover derived from sale of seed be exempted from levy of minimum tax as allowed in several other cases under clause (11A) of Part-IV of Second Schedule to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 or at the minimum the tax on turnover should not be greater than 0.2%. Since the budget preparation will commence soon it is an appropriate time to propose the amendment in Clause (11A) Part IV of the Second Schedule of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, the letter added. SAP further said that the public research institutions should be restricted from auctioning or charging royalties on the varieties developed by them.

These institutions are funded by the public money and everyone should be entitled to have access to their research without prejudice. Similarly, it proposed that fees for testing of new seed varieties which are not charged from the public sector should also not be charged from the private sector to provide a level playing field. The letter further submitted that despite that the fact that DNA fingerprinting is not a part of the registration of seed varieties under the Seed Act, however the Federal and Provincial Authorities have started implementation of the DNA fingerprinting for the registration of the varieties. This not only adds cost of the registration of new varieties but also further burdens the company’s with additional documentation. This condition should be removed to ensure ease of business.