Concern over low agri output despite improved loans, Probe in usage of agricultural loans demanded.


22 August 2016

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday expressed concern over low agricultural output despite improved loans by the banks.

Banks distributed Rs598.3 billion rupees to the agricultural sector in 2015.16 against the target of Rs600 billion among 2.4 million farmers but it failed to boost output, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that loan disbursement remained sixteen percent higher than 2014-15 while the number of borrowers also grew by two hundred thousand but it has failed to have an impact on the sector.

It must be probed that the loans issued in the name of agriculture sector was actually invested in the same sector, he demanded.

He said that SBP pushed many reluctant institutions to lend more to the dwindling sector but it says that factors like low productivity, climate change, price fluctuations and poor market linkages played its role in damaging agricultural sector.

Last year the sector registered a negative growth of 0.19 percent as major crops productivity fell by 6.25pc while important crops showed a decline of 7.25pc.

Urea and DAP offtake has declined, tractor sales have been almost negligible for the last three years, with industry claiming an over 70 percent sale loss; similar has been the case with pesticides which is amazing necessitating probe that where all the money is going.

The government had targeted a growth of 3.25pc but it got a negative growth therefore it must know how much money is going into which areas and be redirected into vital areas.

He demanded strict action against banks that prefer to pay fines to the SBP instead of venturing into rural Pakistan which they consider as unsafe.


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