ISLAMABAD: A meeting presided over by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Monday decided to immediately fill all vacant posts of banking court judges and improve legislation for agricultural loans for an effective implementation of the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Transformation Plan.
The meeting reviewed the progress on directives of the prime minister to increase agriculture credit for the farming sector.
The meeting was attended by Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Secretaries of Law and Justice, Economic Affairs Division, National Food Security and Research, Presidents of National Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL, Bank of Punjab and senior members of Boards of Revenue of Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balochistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir.
Farm loan legislation to be improved for effective implementation of PM’s agriculture transformation plan
The SBP’s deputy governor made a presentation on the consultative process followed with key stakeholders and detailed proposals to enhance the agriculture credit.
The SBP recommended improvement in the Loan for Agriculture, Commercial & Industrial Purposes (LACIP) Act, 1973, by making it more effective through amendments to areas of foreclosure and simultaneously streamlining procedures for swift processing of agriculture loans.
The central bank also emphasised appointment of judges on a priority basis to vacant posts of judges in banking courts
Dr Shaikh directed that that a clear action plan should be brought up along with timelines and responsibility matrix to finalise different proposals needed to help the credit to farmers.
The meeting also constituted a five-member committee comprising secretaries of law and justice, NFS&R, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and other senior officials of relevant institutions to complete the task.
The finance minister directed that all stakeholders should extend full support in promoting agriculture sector through effective and speedy implementation of Agriculture Transformation Plan as approved by the prime minister.
The plan, approved by the prime minister last month, envisaged substantial increase in the production of major crops by reforming the agriculture input regime including provision of quality seeds, best practices and easy access to credit for farmers. The plan seeks to enhance cotton output by 65pc, rice and maize output by 40pc and sugarcane production by more than 20pc.
The plan involves improvement to water efficiency, digitalise subsidy mechanism, simplifying access to credit, proper documentation of land and better facilities of storage and transportation.
After the clearance of agricultural transformation plan by the prime minister last week, the government had reported that contribution of agriculture sector in the country’s GDP could be enhanced to about $75bn by 2031 from less than $50bn last year with interventions envisaged in the plan.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2021