17computer GST on native formulation milk to hinder diet targets

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LAHORE: The proposed 17 percent general sales tax (GST) levy on locally produced milk formula would undermine efforts to combat serious child malnutrition in the country.

According to insiders, the federal government’s recent proposal to impose 17 percent sales tax on locally made infant formula and baby food contradicted the prime minister’s promise to address the malnutrition challenges in Pakistan.

Commenting on reports that the proposed mini-budget would increase sales tax on locally produced infant milk and cereals from zero to 17 percent all at once, they said it would negatively impact consumer prices and undo the prime minister’s promise to fix malnutrition.

Field-made formula is used extensively, as prescribed in certain medical conditions, and generally to provide nutritious nutrition to infants and babies. These products are around 50 percent cheaper than comparable imported products.

Pakistan is facing a malnutrition crisis, one of the worst in the world, they said.

An important index of the health and nutritional status of a community is its “under five mortality rate”. For Pakistan it is 137 for every 1,000 births. That is very high in an international comparison.

According to nationwide food consumption surveys, 40 percent of children in Pakistan are underweight and over half of children are stunted.

In addition, around 41.7 percent of women of childbearing age in Pakistan are anemic, with the proportion slightly higher in rural areas (44.3%) than in urban areas (40.2%).

According to the most recently published National Nutrition Survey, other micronutrient deficiencies in Pakistani women are vitamin D (79.7 percent) and vitamin A (27.3 percent), which make them vulnerable as young mothers.

Given the highly inflationary climate, it’s imperative to note that locally produced baby food products are 50 percent cheaper than imported ones, making them affordable and accessible to help overcome malnutrition.

In his first address, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted the effects of malnutrition and malnutrition on the mental and physical development of children and highlighted the government’s priorities in preventing stunted growth.

Nearly 10 million Pakistani children suffer from stunted growth, according to UNICEF. The situation in the country is still quite dire, with stunted growth and wastefulness prevalent.

Stunting doesn’t just mean a child doesn’t have enough to eat. It is about the quantity and quality of the diet, among other factors. Inadequate nutrition for mothers during pregnancy is one of the main causes of malnutrition in children, which leads to stunted growth.