ISLAMABAD           -         Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has assured full support to a targeted disbursement of the Rs 50 billion agriculture package recently announced by the government for the farmers and crop growers.

The government has approved this package with a view to extending relief to the farmers community and its direct disbursement to the farmers and crop growers remains a key objective of the government, he said while chairing a meeting with a delegation of the Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) that met the Adviser and members of the government’s economic team at the Finance Division today.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Minister for Industries and Production Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Chairman FAP & Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Vice Chairman FAP & Punjab Minister for Management and Professional Development Makhdoom Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Managing Director FAP Malik Afaq Tiwana & Director FAP Mr. Afzaal Haider Rizvi were also present along with Secretary Finance Division Naveed Kamran Baloch and Chairperson FBR Ms Nausheen Javaid Amjad.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh welcomed various proposals and recommendations put forward by the delegation regarding extending direct relief to the farmers, including possible reduction of electricity tariff for tube-wells, reduction of import duty on fertilizers, reduction of mark-up and waiver of agricultural loans, deregulation of the import and export of agriculture products and livestock.

He said the government was open to considering any suggestion to further improve the disbursement criterion of the agriculture package of Rs 50 billion in view of the input and consultation of the stakeholders. Similarly, the government was also willing to extend further relief to the farmers as and when required and proposed by the Ministry of National Food Security & Research for the growth of agriculture and betterment of farmers.

The Adviser conceded that the agriculture sector had the potential in a post-COVID scenario to generate employment, boost growth, alleviate poverty and enhance food security. He asked the leadership of FAP and the concerned ministries to sit together in the coming days to further fine-tune and improve the disbursement mechanism of the agriculture package and put bring up any other suggestions or recommendations to further support the farming community and boost the agriculture sector. Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has also chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division with Siraj Kassaim Teli, chairman Businessmen community and representatives of Karachi Chambers of Commerce and Industry to discuss budget proposals from business community of Karachi.

The group requested the Adviser to look into the possibility of reducing the taxes and speeding up of income tax refunds for the businessmen. They asked the Adviser to take concrete measures to facilitate the business community for facilitating their business activities. The Adviser assured the representatives that the government is giving proper consideration to their proposals in the upcoming budget and will continue to cooperate with the business community to boost the businesses and generate employment and economic development in the country.