ISLAMABAD -  Federal Minister for National Food Security Sikander Hayat Bosan has blamed the provinces for failing to boost agriculture sector due to their reluctance to cooperate with the federal government.

The minister said that the three provinces except Punjab had refused to implement Rs341 billion Kissan Package announced by the prime minister.

Winding up a debate in Senate on a commenced motion moved by PPP Senator Taj Haider on the multiple problems being faced by the agriculture sector, Bosan said the provinces especially Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were not ready to cooperate with the federal government. “Agriculture is a provincial subject but neither provinces are taking steps on their own nor they are listening to the federal government,” he added. “If you want to boost the agriculture sector, press the provinces to do the needful as federal government is doing whatever it can,” Boson asked the lawmakers.

He recalled the PSDP for the agriculture sector was Rs32 billion when he was the minister for agriculture some twelve years back and now it has been reduced to Rs1.5 billion, as the Agriculture Ministry has been devolved to the provinces.

The minister also regretted that the KP refused to implement prime minister's announcement to fix a uniform price for sugarcane throughout the country.

He said that the major challenge to agriculture sector is cost of production which can be reduced if both the federal and provincial governments are on the same page. He also accused the provinces of pressing the centre for not ending the GST, and instead give subsidy.

Earlier, the lawmakers from both opposition and treasury called for taking stringent measures to boost the agriculture sector, saying if proper attention is paid to this sector, it will help alleviate poverty in the country.

They also criticised the successive governments of exploiting the small farmers in the name of agriculture loans, saying the rich growers were given loans from Zarai Taraqqiati Bank (ZTBL), and then the loans were got written off under one pretext while the small farmers were exploited.

PPP Senator Rehman Malik said that unless new water reservoirs are built, agriculture sector cannot be developed. 

However, the minister rejected the claim by saying the number of big farmers is only 5 per cent, as it is the small farmers that constitute 95 per cent of the sector, holding lands upto five acres.

Speaking on a motion moved by MQM Senator Ateeq Shaikh on rights of tax filers, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said that there are 19 provisions under which tax filers have advantage over non-filers.

In order to facilitate the tax filers, the government has given them a right of appeal, payment in installment, and a foolproof security to keep their information secret, besides they are issued special cards under which they can avail special privileges.

The house passed a resolution, recommending the federal government to build a 250 kilometer-long highway along the Coast from Sircreek to Karachi to serve as a wall against sea intrusion. The resolution was moved by Senator Sassui Palijo of PPP which was not opposed by the government.

Another resolution moved by Senator Chaudhary Tanvir Khan, felicitated Pakistan cricket team, on the achievement of number one position in test cricket rankings.

The House also passed a resolution, moved by Senator Atique Sheikh, recommending the government to give incentives to local car manufacturers to boost the production of low priced vehicles in the country.

Furthermore, two bills – The Protection of Economic Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and The Corporate Rehabilitation Bill, 2015 – moved by Senator Saleem Mandviwala were introduced in the Senate, which were then referred to the concerned committees of the House.

The Protection of Economic Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is aimed at amending the Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, while The Corporate Rehabilitation Bill, 2015" provides for the rehabilitation and restructuring of corporate entities.