By 2033–2034, local producers would supply 60% of the world’s need for edible oils, according to the government’s National Oilseed Policy implementation plan.
According to high-ranking officials, a new national oilseed policy has been developed with challenging goals. The aforementioned policy will be put into effect following a stakeholder consultation.
Under the National Oilseed Policy, a massive goal of making the nation self-sufficient for 60% of the overall requirement of edible oils has been set to be accomplished by 2033–2034. In terms of money, there would be a $7.668 billion substitute. When compared to our current financial crises, this sum is enormous. Strong commitments and courageous actions are necessary to achieve these goals.
The National Oilseed Policy’s requirements have been completed, according to the implementation plan. They consist of:
(i) Profitable Intervention Price (PIP): To entice growers, the announcement of PIPs for sunflower, canola/rapeseed & mustard, and sesame that are equal to 1-1/2 times their production costs.
(ii) Regulatory Duty (RD): The promise to establish a regulatory duty, if necessary, to enforce PIP on imports of edible oils and oilseeds. There would be other interventions, too. To safeguard regional farmers, the government currently imposes RDs on imports of wheat (60 percent), sugar (40 percent), and maize (30 percent).
It may not be advisable to support quota limitations or other non-tariff measures to safeguard local producers of oilseeds because they will raise the cost of ghee and cooking oils, which will harm consumers, and there won’t be any money left over to pay for targeted subsidies for disadvantaged groups.
The current rates of Cess, which are Rs. 50 per tonne on imported edible oils and 10% of the custom duty on oilseeds (Cess on edible oils was levied in 1994 and on oilseeds in 2000), may be increased to Rs. 1000 per tonne and 20% of the custom duty, respectively. The Cess fund will have about Rs. 5.5 billion available yearly. Additionally, the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Cess fund balance may be transferred to POD’s Cess fund.
Following the transfer of the Cess fund from FBR and the reassignment of NOEP funds, approximately Rs. 15 billion would be accessible.
The Pakistan Oilseed Department (POD) will be responsible for coordinating with Provincial and Federal Departments to organise all the activities/actions mentioned in the implementation plan for executing the National Oilseed Policy through Provinces, which has also been defined by the new policy.
With POD’s worn-out present structure, this would be an extremely difficult operation to do. After June 2023, POD would only have two Technical Officers of BS-18 managing POD operations. There are no applicants for any of the 24 positions in the BS-17, BS-18, BS-19, BS-20, or BS-21 technical cadres.
The National Oilseed Policy cannot be successfully implemented without a reasonable strengthening of technical officers in POD. Therefore, it is crucial to strengthen POD by filling at least 10 BS-17, 4 BS-18, 4 BS-19, 1 BS-20, and 1 BS 21 positions through regular, directed recruitment, promotions/accelerated promotions, and contract basis.
According to the National Oilseed Policy, the following individuals may be appointed to the high power committee for implementation of the National Oilseed Policy:
i) Chairman Committee, Minister for National Food Security Provincial Agriculture Secretaries Member vii. Chairman, FBR Member viii. Chairman, PARC Member ix. Food Security Commissioner-I Member x. Managing Director, POD Member/Secretary. ii. Provincial Agriculture Ministers Member iii. Secretary, NFS&R Member iv. Secretary, MoIP Member v. Secretary, M/o Commerce Member vi.
This committee will have the authority to make decisions on all issues pertaining to the National Oilseed Policy’s execution in order to meet the following goals and targets:
Publication of the RD’s PIP Imposition,
Imports of oilseeds and edible oils are subject to a levied or modified Cess.
fixes the objectives of the National Oilseed Policy,
new therapies being introduced,
Approving any intervention or proposal to promote oilseeds with a budget exceeding Rs. 500 million, hiring personnel or officials, buying vehicles or motorcycles for the field force, etc.
Under the High Power Committee, there will be two subcommittees.