PM Shahbaz Sharif announces Kissan Package (Rs1,800bn)

In the current fiscal year the government will give loans of Rs1,800 billion to the farmers, as announced by the PM Shahbaz

ISLAMABAD: To help the farmers get back on their feet after the devastating flooding the Prime Vice-President Shahbaz Sharif on Monday announced the Kissan package for them.

The prime minister claimed that Pakistan’s growth directly correlates with the growth of Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

The premier announced that during the current fiscal year the government will offer loans totalling Rs1,800 billion for agriculturalists — 4 times higher than in the previous year.

“As you all know, the incumbent finance minister [Ishaq Dar] is quite strict […] and he will ensure that all the amount is provided to the farmers,” PM Shehbaz declared, stressing commercial banks should avoid providing loans to entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers and are looking for investments that are secure.

The PM also said that the markup on loans given to farmers who belong to areas affected by flooding is now waived and to facilitate this the government has provided around 11 billion rupees.

The Centre and the provinces that are smaller will also offer more than $8 billion to small farmers living in areas that are affected by floods, he stated in addition to stating that the government will offer loans of $50 billion to children who live in rural areas who are eager to become professional farmers.

The loan to children will be granted at a rate that is lower than market rate, and the government would put aside around Rs6.5 billion to fund this project.

The plan was developed through officials from the Ministries of Finance and Food Security to revive the agricultural sector in flood-prone areas.

The package includes measures like cutting the cost of fertilizer and ensuring that there is enough urea. Initiating the sun-lit tube well, and installments on electric bills are also a part of the package.

“Interest-free loans for tenant farmers’

Prime Minister Shehbaz announced interest-free loans for tenants of farmers who live in flood-hit regions. “Subsidy worth Rs5 billion have been allocated for these loans,” PM Shehbaz stated.

Additionally in addition, the government raised the price of the Produce Index Unit (PIU) from Rs4,000 to Rs10,000 when it comes to the purpose of obtaining loans for agricultural use.

He said that they will encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on the agricultural field , as Rs10 billion have been allocated to the SMEs modernisation plan in the field of agriculture.

‘Second-hand tractors’

The premier blasted the fact that tractor that is locally made in Pakistan are not able to be exported because of the ban; which also increases the price of tractors for the average farmer.

“I along with Dar and other authorities concerned tried to end the monopoly of the tractor industry; however, the stakeholders straight away refused to cooperate with the government,” PM Shehbaz added In keeping with this in mind, the government has taken the decision to import used tractor models.

The prime minister stated the administration, in defiance of obligation, made the decision to import as much as five years old second-hand tractor (with the proper certificates) in order to assist farmers who are unable to afford locally manufactured tractors.

He stated that had that the industry of tractor had cooperated with government, they could not have taken this step which is expected to hurt the local economy. The premier also announced the 50% discount on duty will be offered to importers of these five-year-old used tractor, and 36% discount on three-year old tractor, and discounts will be determined according to.

“In order to incentivise new players and investors planning to become a part of the tractor industry, we have decided to give concession on the import duty of tractor parts,” the official said and added that the duty for completely knocked down (CKD) parts is now 15% from 35%..

“Subsidy on Urea”

The premier said that after an intense negotiations with the government the fertiliser producers have agreed to cut down the price of a bag of Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) — the DAP bag will soon be priced at Rs11,250 on the market.

In the past, the DAP bag was sold at approximately 14,000 rupees.

In cooperation with provinces 1.2 million bags wheat seeds with a certificate will be distributed to farmers living in areas devastated by floods without cost the prime minister stated in addition to the fact that Rs13.20 billion was set aside for the scheme. Of Rs13.20 billion, half would be provided by Centre as well, he said.

He also said that the government is planning to import the equivalent of 500,000 tons of urea of which 200 tons have already arrived in Pakistan. He praised the industries minister and his team for negotiating the deal in a manner that helped the government save $100 per ton — as under the government-to-government deal urea was available at $600 per ton initially but because of the constant efforts of the authorities concerned price was brought down to $500 per ton.

“In order to boost the agricultural sector in Pakistan the government has also made a decision to give Rs30 billion in the urea subvention to ensure that small farmers are able to access fertiliser at a lower cost.

The prime minister also stated that, despite wheat previously being imported due to lower the average level of yield, Pakistan would still need to import wheat due to the destruction caused by floods.

He stated that the government had decided to purchase 1.6 millions of tons of grain, which brings the total amount up to 2.6 million tons of which a million tons have been delivered.

Clarifying why did he not allow private sectors to import wheat, he said that the government is trying to save each dollar and provide people relief which is why all wheat import deals were government-to-government

In relation to the reduction in electricity costs The minister said it is the decision of government to offer free loans at no interest to the proprietors of 300,000 tubewells which are currently operational in Pakistan. The goal is to convert these tube wells into solar power.

He further explained that the farmer will not be required to pay for electricity and will have to pay the installments, while the government pays the interest.

The premier stated that the government had chosen to adopt the fixed price of Rs13 for each unit as an “immediate” relief to the farmers — this means that the government will provide a subsidy of Rs43 billion will be offered.

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