ISLAMABAD: As part of the agriculture fiscal package for 2020-21, the finance ministry has released funds worth Rs6 billion to growers as subsidy for pesticides to control ‘whitefly’ infestation.
Provinces will disburse this subsidy to registered farmers, according to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, which says sales tax subsidy on locally-manufactured tractors will also be disbursed.
The government had announced the agriculture fiscal package in wake of Covid-19. Mechanism has been developed for mark-up subsidy on all loans for 12.5 acres of land holding, disbursed by Zarai Taraqiati Bank with passbook as collateral, during 2020-21 only.
The sales tax subsidy of Rs1.5 billion to locally manufactured tractors is being offered for one year. There are two main tractor manufacturing companies in Pakistan with market share of 60 per cent and 40pc, respectively. At present, 5pc sales tax is applied on each tractor and annual volume of both units during 2019 was 41,000 and average sales tax around Rs60,000 per tractor.
According to the criteria, local tractor manufacturers will report to the Federal Board of Revenue and the ministry on fifth day of every following month. The latter will ensure through forensic audit on quarterly basis to confirm proper utilisation of the subsidy for the benefit of farmers.
An amount of Rs6.861bn has been allocated and all agriculture loans for both production and development will be eligible under the subsidy scheme. Loans disbursed during 2020-21 and outstanding as of June 30 for which mark-up will be accrued during FY21 and be eligible in the subject scheme.
The borrowers availing any other subsidy scheme will not be eligible for this scheme. The defaulted borrowers, who repay or settle their loans, will be eligible for the scheme during the subsidy period. Those availing deferment or re-schedulement facility of the State Bank of Pakistan may also qualify for it.
Meanwhile, the National Locust Control Centre said on Tuesday that desert locusts have been reported in Tharparkar and Nagarparkar areas adjacent to the Indian border.
No locust is present in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and is present in one district each of Sindh and Balochistan. During the past 24 hours, 1,94,500 hectares area has been surveyed, while control operation was carried out on 1,320 hectares of area in Tharparkar by deploying beaver aircraft.
Aerial control operation with the help of beaver aircraft has also been carried out over 400 hectares in the Diplo area of Tharparkar.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2020