BY: AHSAN JAMIL
Muslim population is approaching 2 billion and is expected to account for 30% of the world`s population by year 2025, with the global Halal market estimated at US $2.3 trillion covering both the food and non-food sectors (cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, transportation etc.); therefore Halal sector is one of the foremost frontiers in which the development is required to meet the needs of international as well as domestic market. The inevitable integration of halal sector and Islamic finance sectors is one of the axis around which Halal sector is likely to reshape in forthcoming years.
D-8 experts congregated in Islamabad for two day long “D-8 Experts Group Meeting on Halal Sector Development” in the month of April, to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and devise unanimously agreed policies of cooperation in terms of increasing trade, capacity building, technical regulations, strengthening standards, conformity assessment procedures in order to bolster the Halal Sector amongst D-8 countries. The meeting was first of its kind from the platform of D-8 on the Halal Sector Development. Delegates from Turkey Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Iran and host Pakistan participated in the Expert Group meeting.
The meeting was inaugurated by chief guest, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science and Technology. He told the audience about theme of the meeting, “Harmonizing Halal practices lets do it together.”
Minister further stated that federal government of Pakistan is taking unprecedented step and is ratifying law for the promotion of halal food trade to spur the development of Halal industry through major reforms in policies. He further added, “I am privileged to announce that Pakistan Halal Authority (PHA) is being established through an Act of the Parliament with a purpose to promote import and export, trade and commerce with foreign countries and inter-provincial trade and commerce in Halal articles and processes.”
“Trade is of immense importance for cooperation amongst the D-8 countries. The volume of D-8 intra-trade has increased remarkably to almost US$ 150 billion in 2014 from US$ 15 billion in 1997. Still lot is required and accordingly the D-8 leadership is aiming to increase the intra-trade up to US$ 500 billion by 2018. This mark will be achieved not only by the D-8 main instruments but also by improved linkages and efficient networking among D-8 private sectors. So cooperation amongst the D-8 countries in the Halal Sector provides an excellent opportunity to increase the share of D-8 countries in the world Halal market,” he said.
Rana Tanveer Hussain also exalted the role of Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), i.e. PSQCA, PCSIR and PNAC for their initiatives taken to promote the Halal Sector.
Kamran Ali Qureshi, Secretary MoST, urged time bound pragmatic outcomes of the meeting in strengthening the Capacities of the member states, partnership initiatives for strengthening cooperation amongst the countries, and assurance unrestricted flow and exchange of information and expertise on halal sector.
The organizers of this international event included Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and respective departments i.e. PSQCA, PCSIR, PNAC etc.
The meeting was a stride forward to provide an opportunity to contribute towards capacity building, human resource development, and information exchange between D-8 countries in order to attain substantial growth in halal sector. It also abetted to explore new perspectives and ventures pertaining to technical regulations for halal sector development in D-8 member countries and opened spring board for the mutual cooperation in Halal sector development.