Closure of QRC better for rice export: Unisame

Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) said that the closure of QRC will be for the betterment of the rice industry in Pakistan and will give a free hand to rice exporters to sell their brands and remove hurdles created by the troublesome committee.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver urged the ministry of commerce (MoC) not to commit wilful omission and dissolve the Quality Review Committee (QRC) forthwith in view of the no objection received from the law division and consensus of all stakeholders. Rice exporters are facing very challenging times due to loss in realization proceeds because of exchange rate and are now not in a position to overcome hindrances created by a non commercial organization devoid of commercial sense and expertise.

He pointed out that the creation of QRC was a big mistake as it gave rise to conflict of interest. It was based on wrong premises and it gave the opportunity to office bearers of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) to subdue their competitors. MoC realized this and made amendments and separated the office of QRC and REAP and also removed the mandatory condition of membership of REAP for rice exporters. The QRC cannot function as an inspection company under any law and its formation is based on misapplication and twisting of law to suit the big and influential and it is appreciated that the MoC has realized its futility and made serious efforts to curtail its

He said the QRC has no locus standi as it is neither qualified nor eligible and although just a quality review committee it is posing itself like a pre-shipment inspection (PSI) organization. It was basically formed to protect the basmati label but now that rice is sold by the buyers and the exporters own popular brands and other varieties which are not basmati but more costly and more in demand are flooding the markets and the job of the QRC is futile.

Secondly most of the buyers have their own nominated PSI agency to carry out PSI. QRC never made efforts to get 386 a very popular variety as basmati although in India 386 is considered and approved as basmati but in Pakistan QRC allowed its export underhand as basmati but did not recommend it to be approved as basmati for reasons best known to itself. QRC is devoid of any substantial work as a protector of basmati and in fact is creating hurdles in its exports due to lack of knowledge on the subject.

Needless to state that basically the QRC was formed in violation of the principles of pre-shipment inspection (PSI) and the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) never recognized and enrolled it as a PSI body because it did not comply with the rules and regulations of the PSQCA and international standards. A PSI body has to be a joint stock company incorporated and with a capital sufficient to pay claims against irresponsible inspections, it needs to be eligible, qualified and must have DNA facilities and laboratory fully equipped with all measuring and quality assessment equipments. It is very important that it has to be independent, transparent and a third party. It cannot be managed by vested interest.

Thaver said that we fail to understand the delay for the closure of the QRC as there is consensus for its closure from all stakeholders and the earlier the MoC says good bye to this organization the better it will be for all.

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