‘Gov’t to ensure targeted disbursement of agri package’

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By Asad Cheema

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh here on Monday assured full support to a targeted disbursement of the Rs 50 billion agriculture package, recently announced by the government for the farmers and crop growers.
The government has approved this package with a view to extend relief to the farmer community, he said while chairing a meeting with a delegation of the Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) that met the Advisor and members of the government’s economic team at the Finance Division.
The disbursement of the package directed to the farmers and crop growers remained a key objective of the government, said a press statement.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Industries and Production Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Chairman FAP and Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Vice Chairman FAP and Punjab Minister for Management and Professional Development Makhdoom Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Managing Director FAP Malik Afaq Tiwana and Director FAP, Afzaal Haider Rizvi, Secretary Finance Division Naveed Kamran Baloch and Chairperson Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Nausheen Javaid Amjad were also present in the meeting.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh welcomed various proposals and recommendations put forward by the delegation regarding extending direct relief to the farmers, including possible reduction of electricity tariff for tube-wells, reduction of import duty on fertilizers, reduction of mark-up and waiver of agricultural loans, deregulation of the import and export of agriculture products and livestock.
He said the government was open to considering any suggestion to further improve the disbursement criterion of the agriculture package of Rs 50 billion in view of the input and consultation of the stakeholders.
Similarly, the government was also willing to extend further relief to the farmers as and when required and proposed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for the growth of agriculture and betterment of farmers.
The Advisor conceded that the agriculture sector had the potential in a post-COVID scenario to generate employment, boost growth, alleviate poverty and enhance food security.
According to the statement, he asked the leadership of FAP and the concerned ministries to sit together in the coming days to further fine-tune and improve the disbursement mechanism of the agriculture package and bring up any other suggestions or recommendations to further support the farming community and boost the agriculture sector.