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Tarin stresses need for foreign funding in agriculture package

Business

May 5, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday emphasized need of foreign funding for the multibillion rupees agriculture relief package announced by the government last year to support farmers amid COVID-led lockdown.

While reviewing the foreign funding portfolio during a meeting with Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub, Tarin outlined the priority areas for financial and technical support. He emphasized the need for financing agricultural package which will include provision of commodity warehousing, cold storage facilities and Irrigation water management to strengthen infrastructure for boosting agricultural productivity.

The meeting was told foreign funding would be utilised for supporting social protection and skill development programs to protect under-privileged groups of the society and to empower youth by imparting valuable skills. It will also include swift processing of microcredit loans for youth empowerment.

The meeting was briefed about the ongoing foreign funding portfolio with bilateral and multilateral development partners.

The finance minister further directed officials to focus on strengthening civil amenities such as provision of clean drinking water, solid waste management and other such facilities in under-developed areas. He expressed firm commitment of the government for socio-economic development in line with the sustainable development goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the people of Pakistan.

“Government will make all necessary interventions in collaboration with international development partners for human resource development and socio-economic uplift of the nation,” he said.

Last year, the government approved a Rs56.6 billion agriculture relief package for farmers. The amount would include a subsidy of Rs925 per bag on diammonium phosphate and other phosphatic fertilisers and Rs243 per bag on urea and other nitrogen fertilisers. The subsidy scheme is to be implemented by the provinces and the amount is be disbursed through scratch card scheme already being implemented in Punjab.

Reduction in the mark-up of agriculture loans to farmers at the total cost of Rs8.8 billion and subsidy on cotton seed at a cost of Rs2.3 billion and white fly pesticides at a cost of rs6 billion were also approved. The package would also include Rs2.5 billion subsidy on sales tax on the locally-manufactured tractors for a period of one year.