Budget 2017-2018 seems quite promising for the agro- economy as compared to the time-barred incentives offered and promised by the government last year. The Kissan Package is one such incentive. It was offered with a positive intention on the government’s part to alleviate the plight of farming community. But it could not be of much help to the agri-sector because of market instability and the somewhat inappropriate timing of announcing the subsidy. As a result, the government’s intention to support and strengthen the agri-sector could not materialise. Another example is the Complex Subsidy Reimbursement Mechanism that burdened the fertiliser sector by causing serious cash flow problems. This made all those who wanted to help the government in its initiative repent.
Such unfulfilled promises and commitments by the government resulted in a serious trust deficit between the government and other shareholders. Therefore, the government should consider the suggestions of agri-experts regarding reduction of GST on inputs , providing relief in terms of reducing the cost of production of input and by easing the GIDC to alleviate the long-deprived farming community of additional burden. The government should also come up with corrective measures in the approved budget to reduce the cost of input so that fertiliser prices in Pakistan may be made competitive with the international market.
Adnan Ali Mughal