Loans worth Rs1800bn to be provided to farmers: PM Shehbaz

Loans worth Rs1800bn to be provided to farmers: PM Shehbaz


Loans worth Rs1800bn to be provided to farmers, says PM Shehbaz

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that loans worth Rs1800 billion will be provided to the farmers which is Rs400 billion more than the previous year.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Monday, he said that the unprecedented floods have wreaked havoc across the country with damaging crops at 4 million acres of land.

The prime minister said that only thing that can move forward Pakistan’s economy is agricultural economy and we can modernize agriculture as this is the sector that can transform its economy in 6 months.

He said the prices of DAP would be reduced by Rs 2500 per bag, resulting in a benefit of Rs 58 billion to the farmers. The price of a DAP bag would come down to Rs 11250.

He said the prices of DAP were brought down after tough negotiations with the fertilizer sector, adding DAP had an important role in increasing the per acre yield of crops.

Shehbaz Sharif said 1.2 million bags of certified seeds worth Rs 13.20 billion would be distributed among the farmers and the federal and provincial governments will share the funds required for it.

The landless farmers in the flood affected areas will be given Rs five billion, he said adding small and medium enterprises working in the agriculture sector would also be given loans of Rs 10 billion for modernization schemes.

He said second hand five year old tractors will be imported with a relaxation of 50 percent in duties and the government would also encourage entry of new tractor manufacturers by decreasing duty on completely knocked down kits from 35 percent to 15 percent.

He informed that half a million tonnes of urea will be imported at a reduced price. 200,000 tonnes of urea had already been imported and the government will give subsidy of Rs 30 billion to give the fertilizer to the farmers at a lower cost, he added. He also said the government would import 2.6 million tonnes of wheat. :”One million tonnes was already imported while 1.6 million tonnes of wheat will be imported soon.” 

The prime minister said one million tubewells in the country were run on electricity and under the new package the government would provide interest free loans for 300,000 tubewells for their solarization so that farmers would get free of cost electricity.

Despite all the difficulties, the government had decided to fix electricity cost at Rs 13 per unit for these tubewells and it would also pay subsidy of Rs 43 billion to help the farmers in paying the loans for the solarization, he noted.
The PM recalled that the last government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif also gave financial support of Rs 100 billion to the small farmers.

The new package would help in the rehabilitation of farmers, particularly those whose standing crops including rice, sugarcane, wheat and dates, on four million acres were destroyed by the floods, he observed.

He said financial assistance of Rs 88 billion was already given to the flood affected people, adding Rs 70 billion were given through the Benazir Income Support Programme while the remaining amount was given for material help like food, tents and blankets through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Chinese investment 

Earlier, addressing the first meeting of Pakistan China Business and Investment Forum, the premier stressed for building strong business to business partnership between Pakistan and China to further expand bilateral relationship and augment China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s dividends.

He said we need to double our efforts to connect with the Chinese business houses and create an enabling environment to attract Chinese investments.

The Prime Minister was confident that his visit to China and his meetings with the Chinese leadership there will be helpful in accomplishing these targets as well as promote our strategic and cultural relations.

The Prime Minister said he strongly believes that the CPEC has been a game changer in building our business relations and so far billions of dollars of investment has already been committed by the Chinese Companies. He recalled that Pakistan was able to address the issue of load shedding due to the energy projects completed under the CPEC.

Shehbaz Sharif noted that given our comparatively cheaper labor, relocation of Chinese industries to Pakistan by establishing Special Economic Zones will be a win-win situation for the businesses of both the countries.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan can enhance its agriculture yield by taking advantage of the Chinese modern technology and techniques. He said we can then install agro based industrial houses and export agriculture production to the Middle East and other countries.

Alluding to the Chinese achievements under President Xi Jinping, Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan needs to emulate and learn from Chinese model.

The Prime Minister thanked the Chinese government and companies for their valuable support to the flood-affected people of Pakistan. He said China is at the moment one of the largest donors to the flood victims. China created an air bridge between Beijing and Islamabad, sending important items such as food and tents. He said the way Chinese companies and individuals contributed in a big way in the flood relief show the depth and strength of this friendship.

In his remarks, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan wants to enhance partnership with China to bolster its exports and become part of its global supply chains. He said the government is committed to removing all the bottlenecks which can stand in the way of attracting investment in the country.

The Minister for Planning and Development said Pakistan China Business and Investment Forum has to lay the path that bulk of the Chinese investment starts flowing into Pakistan.

Minister for Board of Investment Salik Hussain said his department is leading the phase two of industrial cooperation under the CPEC which envisages establishment of SEZs and fostering business to business cooperation.

He said we have also drafted a pitchbook of investment projects ready for investment in Pakistan and this will be presented to the Chinese side during the Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing.

Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong said the CPEC is now moving towards high quality development focusing on industrial, agriculture, technical and socio-economic cooperation.

Referring to Chinese investments in different projects, the Ambassador said a Chinese company is constructing a textile industrial zone on one hundred and fifty acre of land in Lahore with total investment of one hundred and fifty million dollars. He said this will achieve an annual foreign exchange income of four hundred million dollars and provide twenty thousand jobs.

The Chinese Ambassador said his country has so far donated six hundred and forty four million RMB for the help of flood victims in Pakistan.

Nong Rong said during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Beijing, the Chinese side will announce further assistance in this regard to help Pakistan overcome the difficulties posed by the floods.