KARACHI: Since Pakistan has currently no laws on halal product certification, the government is considering to adopt the Malaysian law with certain amendments, Zubair Motiwala, Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister on Investment said.
“The arrangements to start certification of halal products in Pakistan could take about six months and by that time the Malaysian experts would train Pakistan officials,” he told the press at a briefing on the two-day International Halal Conference which started on Tuesday at a local hotel in Karachi.
“A Malaysian team of experts is also here to visit HEJ Institute of Karachi University and PCSIR to see if the required facilities are available for the halal certification process,” Motiwala told adding that Sindh Board of Investment and the Malaysian authorities have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for imparting training and facilitating initiating the halal certification.
To a question, he said the world’s halal sector capital is around 1.3 trillion dollars which would increase to 2 trillion dollars in the near future but Pakistan’s share in halal exports is less than one percent, which is negligible.
Responding to another query, Advisor on Investment said halal products around the world are sold in high cost to some extent which could be around 2 to 10 percent, but in fact, manufacturing halal products does not cause any hike in cost of production rather it increases the sale of halal products in countries where Muslims are in large numbers.
On a question of smuggling live animals to other countries, Motiwala said it’s done only to Iran through land route, and added that the government should take steps for setting up slaughter houses from where the meat could be exported and the hides could be used in country’s tanneries.
He said that the parallel trade through this land route amounts to 5 billion dollars annually.
Chairman, Malaysian Halal Industry Development Corporation HDC, Tan Sri Dato Dr. Syed Jalaludin Syed Salim, Malaysian Consul general and other officials were also present at the briefing.
Earlier, at the inaugural ceremony of the conference, Sindh chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said: “Karachi still has attraction for foreign investors and if we can effectively create awareness of the potential the halal sector has, I am sure the investment will start flowing in. But then Sindh Board of Investment will have to pool all its resources to channelise investment in the right direction ensuring provision of required facilities to the entrepreneurs.”
He said Pakistan is faced with numerous challenges and one of these is the need to put the country on the road to industrial development translating into socio-economic prosperity for the people.
“Fortunately, there is no dearth of resources and talent in our country, all we require is to pool these for the progress of the nation. Fortunately, Pakistan’s strategic location makes it a convenient destination that can offer cost effective solutions for setting up industrial units designed to serve the entire South Asia.”
In his welcome address, Motiwala said that Malaysia is one of the key players in the halal sector globally, others being Australia, Brazil, Thailand, India etc., with China, France and Japan having plans to enter soon. Pakistan will be one of those few Muslim countries which have taken concrete steps to develop the halal industry.
He said the conference aims to create awareness about the halal sector as it is not restricted only to meat or other food but covers cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, toiletries etc. Highlighting the importance of halal products, he said to the non-Muslims, halal products are quality products.
“The Sindh Board of Investment with the assistance of HDC of Malaysia is working on a proposal of developing a halal park with an infrastructure to facilitate growth of the halal industry in Pakistan. The halal park will be a cluster of halal oriented business and industries,” he said.
Tan Sri Dato Syed Jalaludin of Malaysia, who is accompanied by CEO of HDC Sri Jamil Bidin and other senior officials, also spoke on the occasion.