Jun 142017
 
Farmers? demands

In the Budget 2017-18, the agricultural sector has received little or no new support schemes to provide relief to farmers. Despite the protests organised by leading farmer associations on the day that the budget was presented, their demands were largely ignored. The Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) and several other agricultural experts had suggested a waiver of the general sales tax (GST) and the gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) on fertiliser prices to support the agricultural sector. They also suggested the withdrawal of all taxes on the cost of farm-inputs, soil-nutrition and farm-machinery. But all these suggestions have been bluntly rejected by the government. The reduction of the GST and the GIDC on both the inputs and outputs was a crucial need. These decisions must be taken urgently to ensure the economic well-being of the huge farmer community in the country. Another suggestion, which could have truly revolutionised our agriculture sector in the long-term was that the federal government should have encouraged the technological advancement of agriculture through bio-tech enhancements, the mechanisation of farms and the optimisation of storage and faster transportation of the crops. Over the years, the federal policies have played a vital part in starting a revival process for agriculture. But it needs consistent policies to achieve economic growth and ensure prosperity for farmers. It is believed that Pakistan’s agriculture sector has the potential to achieve tremendous growth and contribute majorly in multiplying our GDP. Hence, the government must extend increasingly effective support to this essential sector. Ammar [Read More…]

Jun 062017
 
Assistance to farmers

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 Islamabad Click for detailed story

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