Agriculture development a top priority: Dar

ISLAMABAD: Promotion of agriculture sector is the top most priority of the government and comprehensive measures have been take in the federal budget 2016-17 to boost this sector to uplift overall growth.

Addressing the post budget press conference here on Saturday, Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar said that this sector provides direct employment to 45 percent of the labor force and contributes 21 percent in the GDP.

He said that the development of agriculture sector would help promote overall GDP adding that the negative growth of 0.19 percent and decline of 28 percent in cotton  production during the outgoing Fiscal year has affected the GDP growth.

He said that provision of relief to agriculture sector was the top most priority of the government, so in the budget 206-17, the prices of Urea fertilizers have been reduced by Rs.400 per bag from Rs.1800 to Rs.1400 while the prices of DAP has also been cut from 2800 to 2500, providing Rs 300 per bag relief to farmers.

He said the agriculture package announced in the federal budget was devised in consultations with farmer representatives, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders.

He said that sales tax on pesticides have also been zero rated while the per unit electricity charges for tubewells has been reduced from Rs.8.85 plus sales tax to Rs.5.35, adding that the provinces have been requested to adjust sales tax keeping in consideration to provide relief to farmers. -APP