Pakistan to cut food fortification costs by removing taxes on micronutrients

ISLAMABAD, June 6 2016 – The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) today warmly welcomed the Government of Pakistan’s proposal to exempt vitamin premixes and food grade minerals and micronutrients from customs duties and sales tax in its 2016-2017 Finance Bill.

Working with Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services, GAIN has provided leadership and support, along with other government partners, in advocating for the removal of taxes and duties on the import of micronutrients for food fortification in Pakistan in order to substantially reduce the cost for food fortification.  This initiative of the Government of Pakistan would reduce the cost of fortifying staple food items such as salt, wheat flour and edible oil with vitamins and minerals that are essential for improving the health of the people of Pakistan, especially women and children.

Large-scale food fortification – the addition of small amounts of vitamins and minerals to staple foods and condiments – is a critical public health tool and cost-effective strategy for improving the micronutrient status of the people of Pakistan.  We commend the Government for taking this very significant action”, said GAIN’s Director of Food Fortification, Greg S. Garrett.  “The latest scientific evidence shows that micronutrient malnutrition costs lives, perpetuates poverty, and slows economic growth.  Fortification of food staples with vital micronutrients has tremendous potential for Pakistan’s future and can now move forward more cost-efficiently for the benefit of its people.”

GAIN would like to thank Mr. Muhammad Ayub Sheikh, Federal Secretary and Dr. Abdul Baseer Khan Achakzai, National Program Manager / Director, Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Pakistan for their efforts in securing the tax exemptions.

GAIN’s work in Pakistan and across the Central Asian Region is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an international organization driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition.  More than 2 billion people – one in three people on the planet – suffer from micronutrient deficiency or “hidden hunger.  At the same time, an estimated 1.9 billion people are overweight or obese, and more likely to develop communicable diseases. GAIN is focused on finding solutions to end malnutrition within our lifetimes.