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Wednesday May 13 2020
By
Web Desk

COVID-19: ECC approves multi-billion rupee relief package for agriculture sector

By
Web Desk
PM's Adviser on Finance Hafeez Shaikh chairs the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in Islamabad.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved a multi-billion rupee agriculture relief package to provide subsidy to farmers on fertilizers and pesticides, reduction in bank mark-up on agriculture loans, and sales tax subsidy on locally manufactured tractors.

A meeting of the ECC was held in Islamabad on Wednesday with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair.

Initially, the package was proposed by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research at a cost of Rs56.6 billion, however, the ECC asked the ministry to rationalise it as per its share in the overall Rs100 billion package announced for the SMEs and the agriculture sector out of the Rs1200 billion coronavirus relief package.

The ECC had already approved a Rs50 billion package for the SMEs to provide indirect cash flow support to nearly 3.5 million people through pre-paid electricity.

Under the package, subsidy to the tune of approximately 37 billion rupees would be offered to the farmers on the purchase of fertilizers.

The amount would include a subsidy of Rs925 per bag on DAP and other Phosphatic fertilizers and Rs243 per bag on urea and other nitrogen fertilizers.

The subsidy scheme will be implemented by the provinces and the amount will be disbursed through scratch card scheme already being implemented in Punjab.

Reduction in the mark-up of agriculture loans to farmers at the total cost of RS8.8 billion and subsidy on cotton seed at a cost of Rs2.3 billion and White Fly pesticides at a cost of Rs6 billion were also approved.

The package would also include Rs2.5 billion subsidy on sales tax on the locally-manufactured tractors for a period of one year.

The ECC also approved a proposal by the Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety Division for disbursement of the Special Relief Package for the population living along the Line of Control in a single instalment of Rs 12,000 for six months from 1st January to 30th June 2020 while from July onwards, LoC families would be disbursed monthly instalments of Rs 2,000 each till 31st December 2020.