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Customs asked to stop charging Rs1,300/honeybee box levy

Customs asked to stop charging Rs1,300/honeybee box levy

PESHAWAR: Beekeepers have voiced concern over increase in levy on honeybee boxes’ temporary export to Afghanistan and demanded revision of the tax, saying otherwise their businesses and export of honey would be adversely affected.

The honeybee boxes are temporarily shifted to Afghanistan from May through July due to unfavourable weather conditions in Pakistan, said president Pakistan Beekeepers Association Naeem Qasm. He said that it was essential to bring back the honeybee boxes till September 15 because of the beginning of their season.

But the customs authorities have started charging levy of Rs1,300 per box against the previous Rs75, he said. He termed the increase in levy as irrational and unacceptable. He added that collection of tax on temporarily-exported boxes was unjust and unfair, demanding immediate revision of the policy.

The association president said that around 100 bee farmers had so far temporarily exported honeybee boxes to Afghanistan because of eco-friendly environment and weather in the neighbouring country. He said that the movement of honeybee boxes was necessary from Afghanistan to Pakistan till September 15. The business and export of honey would be adversely affected if timely revision in tax was not made by the Customs department, he said.

Qasmi, who is also chairman of Standing Committee of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for Honey, said that more than 500-700 containers of honey were being exported to Gulf countries, particularly United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia annually, which not only enhance the country’s exports but also generate hefty revenue.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry through a letter to the Customs authorities, a copy of which is available with this scribe, reads that according to president of All Pakistan Bee Keepers’ Association, the Customs authorities are charging Rs1,300 per box upon import of the temporarily-exported boxes to Afghanistan. It was added that previously these charges were to the extent of Rs75.