An increase in import tax on kinnows by Afghanistan’s Taliban government has worried Pakistani exporters of the citrus. They fear that another sector may collapse if Islamabad doesn’t take up the issue with Kabul post haste.
The Afghan government has imposed Rs33 per kg import tax on kinnow this season against Rs3.5 per kg of the previous year. There was a nominal import tax on the citrus in the Afghan market and the Ashraf Ghani government introduced Rs3.5 per kg tax only last year.
Growers claim that even the Rs3.5 per kg tax was unjustified because lower quality or B grade fruit, costing around Rs20 per kg, is exported to Afghanistan, while the Taliban government has pushed the levy up to Rs33 per kg. In contrast, Pakistan imposes just Rs6 per kg import tax on consignments of pomegranate, grapes and apple from Afghanistan, while the market rate of each of the three fruits is over Rs100 per kg here.
Pakistan exported 85,000 tons of kinnow to Afghanistan last year (2020-21), 32 percent less than the previous year (2019-20). The total citrus exports in the 2020-21 season stood at 0.44 million tons.
[ Rs100 = 0,5 ]