Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research on Monday expressed its concerns over the increasing rate of interest being charged by the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and said it would adversely affect the growth of the agriculture sector.
The committee, which met under Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah’s chair, also noted that the prime agriculture lending institutions of the country were charging over 12 percent interest on agricultural input borrowing.
The meeting noted that rate of interest for the industrial sector was six percent for loans. It recommended providing similar facilities to the agriculture sector. The committee was also informed that ZTBL was not receiving any funding from the federal government or
the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and generated the funds from its own resources and money recovered from the browsers.
The ZTBL should be substantially funded by the federal government in order to lower the interest rate to facilitate the growers, it suggested. The committee also recommended reducing general sales tax on agriculture inputs, as well as reducing the rate of Gas Infrastructure Development Charges (GIDC) for bringing down the prices of agriculture inputs like pesticides and fertilisers.
Expressing concerns over the corruption in foreign funded olive tree plantations project, the committee decided to ask the Federal Investigation Agency director general to appoint an officer for probing the case and bringing the culprits to the book.
Reporter. Senate body concerned over rising interest rate for agri sector. The News, February 14, 2017.