Pakistan Agriculture News

MPs want tax exemptions to agri loans

ISLAMABAD –  A parliamentary committee on Wednesday recommended that government should give tax exemptions to Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and other commercial banks on lending for farmers.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, which met under the chair of Qaiser Ahmed Shaikh, MNA has considered the implementation status of the recommendations regarding lowest interest to farming sector.

The committee recommended that government should give tax exemptions to ZTBL and other commercial banks on lending for farmers. The committee also directed to Ministry of Finance & Revenue to provide the details of ZTBL quantifying figures.

Minister of State for Finance Rana Afzal said that government is taking measures to bring reforms in the ZTBL and it would consider reducing the interest rate on the agriculture loans .

He recommended that provinces should also establish agricultural development banks to facilitate the farmers. Committee member Syed Mustafa Mehmud said that the government should give tax exemption to the farmers only.

“Giving tax exemptions to the ZTBL would result in loss to the national kitty, as it happened in PIA case,” he said.

The committee discussed the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) of Finance Division for financial year 2018-19. While considering the ‘Financial Inclusion and Infrastructure Project’, worth of Rs4.5 billion, the committee unanimously rejected that Finance Division will provide PC-I of the said project for further consideration.

The committee disapproved the project regarding Renovation & Repair of Audit Complex, Lahore (Old PT&T Building).

The committee members have shown their observations for not providing satisfactory reasons in this regard.

However, the committee recommended all other projects presented by Finance Division. The ministry of finance informed about allocation of Rs10.17 billion for the PSDP for the next fiscal year as against Rs17.7 billion of the outgoing year.

While considering the PSDP of Revenue Division, the committee members have expressed their concerns about the performance of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) towards their objectives.

However, the committee recommended the projects submitted by the Revenue Division.

The committee approved allocation of Rs2.3 billion for eight development projects of the ministry of finance and Rs6.155 billion for 49 projects of FBR for the PSDP 2018-19.

The FBR officials informed that they need more human resource to make the institution more efficient. The committee decided that its next meeting would be convened on 28th February, 2018 for consideration of pending PSDP.

The committee was briefed by the Additional Secretary Ministry of Finance regarding current account deficit, debt servicing and financial strategy of the government.

The meeting was attended by Dr Nafisa Shah, Asad Umar, Arifa Khalid Parvez, Syed Naveed Qamar, Syed Mustafa Mehmud, MNAs Sher Akbar Khan (Mover) MNA besides the senior officers from Ministry of Finance & Revenue.