ISLAMABAD – The government is likely to abolish Gas Infrastructure Development Cess on fertilizer which will help in reducing the price of urea by around Rs400 per bag. The government is also considering starting helping farmers through Zari Tarqiati Bank Limited, official source told The Nation on Tuesday.
A consultative meeting on agriculture sector development was held on Tuesday where the proposal to do away with GIDC on fertilizers, especially urea, come under discussion. It was decided to provide relief to farmers through provision of subsidy on agriculture inputs.
The meeting was chaired by Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reform and Statistics Division Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar which was attended by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and GB Ali Amin Gandapur, Spokesperson of Prime Minister Nadeem Afzal Chan, MNA Ibrahim Khan, senior officials from ministries of national food security and planning development and reforms.
The ministry of planning is considering two different proposals for the GIDC abolition/reduction, said the source. The proposals include either complete abolition of GIDC on Fertilizer or reducing it by 50 percent and bringing it at par with other sectors. All the other sectors are being charged a GIDC of Rs150 per MMBTU.
GIDC has been imposed at the rate of Rs300 per MMBTU on feed gas (used as raw-material for urea manufacturing). However, the fertilizer industry has been charging farmers with Rs405 per bag under the head Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).
In case of the approval of the first proposal it will provide a relief of around Rs 400 to consumers. In case of the second proposal the price of per bag urea will come down by Rs200.
Regarding the relief in input prices, the source said that the government was considering helping farmers through ZTBL.
Meanwhile, a press statement issued here stated that the federal planning minister said that special emphasis would be laid on developing and modernising agriculture sector in the next five year plan.
READ MORE: Govt reduced taxes to ensure ease of doing business: PM
Khusro Bakhtyar stated that both short and long term strategies will be devised in consultation with all stakeholders to harness the potential that this crucial sector offers to enhance agriculture growth and its contribution to the country’s GDP.
The Minister said that agriculture sector was neglected in the last five-year plan and its growth remained dismal during the last 5 years which is evident from the fact that almost all targets in this area were missed. He underlined that the progress of agriculture sector provides a sound base for economic development and the present government was paying special attention on agriculture development by focusing on improving its key sectors including livestock and fisheries.
He added that yield of major crops like cotton, wheat, sugarcane and rice will be enhanced by adopting best irrigation and farming practices, efficient water management and quality agriculture inputs. Livestock and fisheries sectors also offer great export potential that will be harnessed to boost the country’s exports, stated the Minister.
Khusro Bakhtyar noted that research and development and innovative farming practices remained the most neglected areas adding that special resources will be allocated for these purposes to uplift the agriculture sector. He said that PSDP will be reviewed in consultation with all the provincial governments with regard to irrigation and agriculture sector needs in order to boost agricultural productivity.
The Minister recalled that during the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, a MoU was signed on November 3, 2018 in the field of agriculture to strengthen and promote technology transfer, trade facilitation, scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries.
The Minister said that first meeting of Joint Working Group on Agriculture will be convened next month to work out modalities and way forward to expand and broaden the scope of cooperation to the mutual benefit of Pakistan and China.
Khusro Bakhtyar said that development of agriculture sector will also help in poverty reduction as a large number of country’s population was linked to this key field. He underscored that focusing on socio-economic development of marginalized sections of the society was among top priorities of the present government.