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August 12, 2020

‘Finance division disburses Rs6bln pesticide subsidy to provinces’


August 12, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Ministry of finance has disbursed Rs6 billion to provinces on account of subsidy for white fly pesticide under the agriculture package announced by the government to financially support growers.

The provinces will disburse this subsidy to registered growers, according to the ministry of food security and research.

The ministry launched agriculture fiscal package for the fiscal year 2020/21.

Food Security Minister said Fakhar Imam said agriculture can have a head start in Pakistan’s economy.

The ministry is a policy planner for country's agriculture and despite 18th amendment, the ministry and provincial agricultural departments must work in harmony, he said.

“We need to modernise our agricultural practices. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy,” Imam said during a meeting with Imran Jehangir Nasrullah, CEO Cargill Pakistan.

“We cannot achieve goals of economic growth without paying special attention to this sector.”

The agriculture fiscal package was announced in wake of Covid-19 pandemic. An amount of Rs6.8 billion has been allocated.

The minister said food and agriculture group Cargill Inc. wants to invest in dairy, edible oil and animal feed sectors. Cargill wants to bring world class innovations to support agriculture in Pakistan, which is already moving toward modernisation, as well as the rising demand for oils backed by evolving consumption patterns and a growing market for animal feed.

Cargill started doing business in Pakistan in 1984, and today its operations comprise the trading and handling of animal feed, agricultural commodities and industrial products.

It is one of the largest importers of palm oil and palm oil products into Pakistan.

The sales tax subsidy on locally manufactured tractors is also being disbursed, said the ministry.

There are two main tractor manufacturing units in Pakistan: Massey Ferguson and Al-Ghazi having market share of 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively. At present 5 percent sales tax is applied on the sale of each tractor. Annual sale of both the units during 2019 was 41,000 units and average sales tax is around Rs60.000 per tractor.

Sales tax subsidy to locally manufactured tractors is being offered for one year. The total cost of subsidy is Rs.1.5 billion.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will notify sales tax subsidy to set aside 5 percent general sales tax on locally manufactured tractors for one year.

Local tractor manufacturers will report to FBR and the ministry on 5th day of every following month. Ministry of food security may ensure through forensic audit on quarterly basis to confirm proper utilisation of the subsidy for the benefit of farmers, said the ministry.

Mechanism has also been developed for mark-up subsidy on all loans for 12.5 acres of land holding, disbursed by Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited with pass book as collateral during the current fiscal year.

“Loans disbursed during fiscal year 2020-21 and outstanding as of June 30th, 2020 (for which mark-up will be accrued during July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) shall be eligible in the subject scheme,” food security ministry said in a statement.

“The borrowers availing any other subsidy scheme shall not be eligible for this scheme. The defaulted borrowers, who repay/settle their loans, shall be eligible for the scheme for the subsidy period.

The borrowers availing deferment/re-schedulement facility of State Bank of Pakistan shall be eligible for this scheme.”