ISLAMABAD: Tens of thousands of small farmers/borrowers will benefit from the legislative amendments passed by the National Assembly regarding provision of legal protection to e-passbook.
This year on June 7, the lower house passed “The Loans for Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Purposes (LACIP) (Amendment) Bill 2019”.
Since 2017, the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Ministry of Finance had been briefing lawmakers about the importance of the bill and its impacts on agriculture sector in the country.
“We are glad that the political leadership realized the importance of the bill. The farmers and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL) had been waiting for years for the passage of the bill. Finally, it sailed through the National Assembly. This legislation is destined to herald a green revolution,” president ZTBL stated.
He said Pakistan being an agriculture country needed farmer-friendly legislation, adding majority of farmers had small landholdings.
“This kind of legislation gives ownership to small farmers. We are glad that political leadership has started focusing on legislation meant for small farmers,” the president added.
The e-passbook is a document through which small farmers can get loans for agriculture purposes, however, there was no legal coverage of the e-passbook.
After the passage of the bill, e-passbook has got legal protection and now farmers can avail agriculture loans on subsidized mark-up.
Hasan Raza, Head Legal Affairs Division Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL), said that the passage of the bill is a landmark legislation for farmers and agriculture sector. Now, the e-passbook has a legal protection.
“Credit must go to the government for passing the legislation in the greater interest of borrowers and lending financial institutions," he maintained.
“After the computerization of land record, land owners can now easily get their e-passbooks unlike the past when the farmers would run from pillar-to-post for getting the manual passbooks,” Qadeer Javed, Head Credit Policy Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL), said.
He said that before the passage of the bill, farmers would get their passbooks after paying frequent visits to patwaris, girdawar and tehsildars but now the e-passbooks can be obtained on a single click after digitization of land record.
The legislation has put an end to the exploitation of small farmers by various quarters.
Earlier, farmers had to wait for months to get the manual passbooks and would pay bribes to land authorities.
“In a country like ours, we have to facilitate the farmers first. The procedure of getting manual passbook was very lengthy and hectic for small farmers and it would take months. Now, the e-passbook can be obtained on a single click. This is no doubt, a great relief for farmers,” Muhammad Jan Kakar, Adviser to President ZTBL, said.
Presently, 99 percent Zarai Taraqiati Bank Ltd (ZTBL) loans are provided on agriculture passbook system, which is prepared by revenue authorities in accordance with LACIP Act.
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