ISLAMABAD: The government has chalked out a comprehensive agricultural transformation plan “for the very first time in the country’s history” and was implementing it on a priority basis, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday.
Chairing a series of meetings regarding the priority sectors, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to take action against urea hoarders and facilitate investors in every possible way. He also emphasised the need for early completion of special economic zones (SEZs) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan presided over the meetings to review progress on the implementation of the agricultural transformation plan and special economic zones.
Says focus on SEZs to set up export-oriented industries
During the meeting on the agriculture transformation plan, Mr Khan said the mechanisation of the agriculture sector, provision of quality seed, efficient water management system and assistance in livestock farming were transforming the sector into a high-yielding economic entity.
With the introduction of the Kissan Card, the subsidy on fertiliser and genetic improvement of livestock, the government was aiming to achieve even higher yields as compared to the record production last year, he said.
The meeting was informed that for disseminating quality seeds to increase the average yield and quality of the produce, relevant approvals had been taken and the release of funds was in process. For the genetic improvement of livestock, the import of quality semen was proposed and the process was expedited and given high priority.
Moreover, to assist the livestock farmers, the 9211 helpline has been revived in Punjab while it is nearly complete in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The meeting was also informed that the project to mechanise farming was near completion whereby the distribution of machinery to the farmers would start soon. This would help increase yields and cut farming costs.
The meeting was also briefed on olive cultivation and was informed that the import of high-yielding plants for 20,000 acres had already been started.
On shrimp farming, the meeting was given an update about hatcheries that had been established and would soon be operational in Punjab and Balochistan.
The meeting was also briefed on the fertiliser situation in the country, the consumption of urea and diammonium phosphate and operation against hoarders. The prime minister directed officials to take strict action against hoarders and profiteers and those involved in smuggling urea fertiliser.
Special economic zones
During the meeting on SEZs, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government’s focus was to increase investment in these investment zones for establishing export-oriented industries.
He said the government’s business-friendly policies and a focus on ease of doing business had started producing positive results.
“Increased investment of overseas Pakistanis and foreign investors is the result of the trust which the government has earned by its effective policy measures,” he added.
The meeting was given detailed presentations on SEZs and initiatives taken by the Board of Investment (BoI), CPEC Authority and relevant ministries to facilitate investors in obtaining no-objection certificates (NOCs) and complying with different regimes — both under provincial and federal governments.
The meeting was informed that four major SEZs — including Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Rashakai, Dhabeji and Bostan — were operational with an overall count of 21 special economic zones of different sizes.
A one-stop-shop model for investors has been prepared by BoI to assist in the provision of basic amenities, including electricity, gas, water and construction permits.
A unified compliance regime has also been formulated for services under the provincial and federal governments. In addition, a proposal regarding the empowerment of management companies to obtain NOCs and permits on behalf of the investors was also given.
Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2021