ISLAMABAD - An inter-ministerial committee on Tuesday proposed that agriculture advisory committee must be formulated in order to streamline the matters relating to agricultural loans.

A high power meeting of the inter-ministerial committee on Loans for Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Purposes Act, 1973 was held here in Islamabad Tuesday under the chairmanship of privatisation minister Daniyal Aziz. The meeting was held to deliberate upon the future course of action regarding proposed amendments in the act. The amendments were proposed on the initiative of Finance Division in the Cabinet meeting held on January 29, 2018.

The meeting was attended by the advisor to PM on Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan, senior officials of State Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL and Ministry of Finance.

Minister for privatisation said that agriculture is lifeline of the economy and lot more is needed to be done in the sector. He said, “We need to revamp the entire policy regarding loans for opening the doors to allied sectors for sustainable development of national economy.” The minister also suggested that the requirement for the provision of produce index unit (PIU) for agriculture loan is to be removed in order to simplify the procedure.

Daniyal Aziz directed the heads of financial institutions to pay attention to provide financial services to other sectors of national economy for rapid and balanced economic growth in the country. He called upon the financial institutions to enhance their outreach in rural areas of the country to tackle their financial requirements. He also stressed the need for channelizing the remittances and utilizing them for productive measures.

The minister also said that all banks, microfinance institutions would also be taken on board to prepare a comprehensive report which would be submitted in cabinet meeting for approval.

The inter-ministerial committee was formulated by the cabinet after the submission of summary by Finance Division, related to the announcement made by finance minister in his budget speech for FY 2017-18, according to which it was proposed to enhance the rate of produce index unit (PIU) from Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000. The initiative was meant to facilitate the farmers in terms of credit incurred from banks. The proposal could be materialized only after the amendment in Section (5) 1 of the Loans for Agriculture Purposes Rules 1973.

Consequently, PM formulated a committee comprising minister for power, minister for water resources, special assistant to PM on revenue and secretary finance headed by Minister Privatisation Daniyal Aziz. The newly formulated committee was directed by the cabinet to present its report within two weeks of its commencement.