ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said that vibrant poultry industry should not be burdened with additional taxes so that it can progress. The Rs700 billion industry should be facilitated, taxes and duties on imports should be reduced and refunds should be paid to it which will result in the creation of jobs, increased revenue and foreign exchange earnings, it said.

These steps will bring prices of poultry products down which will help masses to overcome the deficiency of animal protein, reduce health and food security problems, said PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal. He said that unabated smuggling has already increased the price of beef while masses cannot afford to eat mutton leaving them with only option to consume poultry products as consumption of fish in Pakistan is two kg per capita that is lowest in the world.

The situation has left around 90 percent of the population to rely on poultry to get animal protein which is 10 percent lower than the normal limit in an average person in the country, he added. Dr Murtaza said that poultry industry is growing by 10 to 12 percent annually despite all odds which must be protected lest it pushes millions into a health crisis. Per capita egg consumption in developed countries stands at 300 to 400 eggs while the rate is 60 in Pakistan which needs to be improved.

He said that decent, healthy and sufficient diet has already reached out of the buying power of the masses which has resulted in disease, low productivity and compromised growth rate. The worst affected are poor mothers who are compromising on their food to feed their children, he said.