Tubewells in Balochistan: Senate panel for raising subsidy to Rs 8 billion
Senate Standing Committee on Finance on Friday unanimously proposed enhancement of agricultural tubewells subsidy to Rs 8 billion for Balochistan in budget for 2012-13. The Senate committee meeting chaired by Mrs Nasreen Jalil also unanimously proposed that agricultural loan to farmers of flood affected areas may be withdrawn and the government should immediately plan railway and road projects for linking Gwadar port with other areas of the country.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012
The committee recommended providing required allocation of funds to implement projects linking Gwadar with rest of the country. The members of the committee were of the view that linking Gwadar port with Punjab, Sindh and Central Asia could strengthen economy of the country. Secretary Planning Commission Asif Bajwa informed the committee that Rs 18 billion projects had been envisaged to connect Gwadar port with other parts of the country and Rs 15 billion have so far been utilised. The remaining Rs 3.3 billion have been allocated in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2012-13.
Asif Bajwa said the government has also directed the Ministry of Railway to prepare a feasibility report to lay 901 kilometers railway track from Gwadar to Mastung. He said funds are not an issue but the feasibility report is awaited to initiate projects of laying the track. The committee also recommended to the Ministry of Industries and the Ministry of Commerce to re-examine import of reconditioned vehicles to allow import of more than five years old vehicles and examine the implementation of Auto Industry Development Plan (AIDP) after some members demanded vehemently to recommend the National Assembly to allow import of 10 years old cars.
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman said the government has agreed to the demands of Steel Melters Association to reduce sale tax on consumption of electricity to Rs 7 per unit from the proposed Rs 8 per unit. The FBR chairman said steel melters assured them of not increasing the price of steel products. The committee also decided to request the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to resolve the issue of circular debt to minimise electricity crisis in the country. The committee also proposed that same incentive may be given to commercial importers of raw material for manufacturing of medicines as are available to the industrial importers. Import of 10-year reconditioned/old cars may be allowed.