June 8, 2020: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has assured that Rs 50 billion agriculture package announced by the government recently would be targeted and every attempt would be made to ensure its beneficiaries were the farmers and crop growers for whom this relief package was intended.
The government has approved this package with a view to extending relief to the farmers community and its direct disbursement to the farmers and crop growers remains a key objective of the government, he said while chairing a meeting with a delegation of the Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) that met the Adviser and members of the government’s economic team at the Finance Division today.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Industries and Production Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Chairman FAP & Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Vice Chairman FAP & Punjab Minister for Management and Professional Development Makhdoom Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Managing Director FAP Malik Afaq Tiwana & Director FAP Mr. Afzaal Haider Rizvi were also present along with Secretary Finance Division Mr. Naveed Kamran Baloch and Chairperson FBR Ms Nausheen Javaid Amjad.
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 & Research for the growth of agriculture and betterment of farmers.
The Adviser conceded that the agriculture sector had the potential in a post-COVID scenario to generate employment, boost growth, alleviate poverty and enhance food security. 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 put bring up any other suggestions or recommendations to further support the farming community and boost the agriculture sector.