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LAHORE: Hybrid seed industry and growers’ organisations have welcomed the budget proposal of withdrawing the 17 percent sales tax on seed sector, tractors and other agricultural machinery saying that it will boost the agriculture production and reduce the cost of production.

Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik in his initial reaction on the proposed federal budget 2022-23 said the prudent decision of withdrawing 17 percent sale tax in budget on all kinds of seeds will boost agriculture production manifolds in the country to meet the ever increasing food staple needs of growing population in the wake of impending hovering threat of food insecurity.

He said the entire agriculture sector expressed its profound gratitude to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and especially Governor Punjab Baligh-ur-Rehman who put up their genuine case with Prime Minister and got him convinced that levy of 17 percent on all kinds of seeds is injustice with poor farmers.

Shahzad said now withdrawal of ST on seeds will fully encourage the farmers, especially rice growers to use best quality hi tech hybrid seeds which he said will definitely increase yield double to triple times.

Agriculture Republic Co-founder Aamer Hayyat Bhandara while talking to Business Recorder said it is good that the government has decided to withdraw the 17 percent on sales tax on seed but it was not made clear that how the benefit of withdrawal of this tax would be passed on to the farmers. He said it is a tradition in our country that once prices of anything are increased, it never reverts.

Aamer appreciated the allocation of Rs 10 billion for the climate change and said that the government should also launch projects in agriculture sector for introducing climate smart crops and seed that are resistant to climate change. However, he regretted, nothing was mentioned about introduction of digitisation in agriculture and to develop farmer support networks at local level.

He said that the government should take all-out steps to bring down the input cost of the growers to have more yield and meet the growing food demand. Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) President Khalid Khokhar in his brief reaction said it is welcoming that withdrawal of sales tax has been proposed on seed and all agricultural implements. However, he said sales tax is also applicable on lot of other agricultural commodities and it was not explained that whether it is withdrawn on these items too. Similarly, he said its our long-standing demand to bring down the electricity tariff for agricultural purposes but nothing was said about it.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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