ICCI demands more incentives for agriculture sector in budget

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ISLAMABAD:         The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that agriculture was playing important role in the economic development of the country and providing raw material to many industries, therefore, government should consider announcing more incentives for this sector in the forthcoming budget that would help in further strengthening the rural economy, improving agricultural productivity, facilitating the growth of industry and creating more employment opportunities for rural and urban population.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal President, RafatFarid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry that government was reportedly considering options to withdraw certain exemptions given to farm sector, including reduced general sales tax on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and machinery, which was not a good move as it would create more problems for the farmers and affect the growth of agriculture sector. They said that PTI government in its party manifesto had vowed to increase farmers’ profitability and boost growth by ensuring cheap agricultural inputs, but the withdrawal of exemptions would be a negation of its promises.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that previously a number of incentives including agriculture credits, customs duty exemption on harvesters, and removal of general sales tax on imported sunflower and canola seeds were provided to farmers along with reducing sales tax rate on fertilizers. He said if implemented, the move of the government would cause a significant jump in cost of agro inputs and negatively impact agricultural productivity.He cautioned that such steps would further fuel the already high levels of inflation and hit hard the poorfarmers while consumers would also face further price hike.