Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Thursday said government policies have reduced the area under cultivation of oilseeds which is being counterbalanced through enhanced imports draining forex reserves.

The policy designed to benefit few influential individuals has reduced the interests of farmers in cultivation of oilseed, it said.

Policy to please the nobility at the cost of excheaquer and masses continue to damage the agricultural sector, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that the import of oil seed has increased from 7.5 lakh tonnes to 31 lakh tonnes over the last five years because it suits an influential lobby.

On the other hand, the unabated imports has resulted reduced oilseed production by 2.5 lakh tonnes in the last few years.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the government has increased duty on import of soybean oil by 32.6 percent in the budget which has increased its price.

The decision will encourage the import of oilseed to five million tonnes in the next twelve months hitting exchequer, masses, and farmers.

The government will have to bear the loss of around twenty billion rupees in one year on account of reduced duties and taxes on import of oilseed while the masses will also pay an additional amount of twenty billion for cooking oil.

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