Welcome decisions by ECC

ECONOMIC Coordination Committee at its meeting under Finance Minister Asad Umar on Wednesday took some important decisions especially vis-à-vis the agriculture sector. Firstly, the Finance Minister really deserves appreciation for listening to the plight of the widows of deceased employees of Pakistan Steel Mills as he ordered immediate action for disbursement of outstanding pension and dues to them. One also expects that the requisite steps will be taken to reviving the chimneys of Pakistan Steel Mill which indeed is a national asset but negligence of successive governments only made it completely dysfunctional.
Then another important decision that the ECC took related to maintaining the wheat support price at Rs.1300 per forty kilogram. The very decision is understandable and keeping in view the ground realities. In fact wheat prices are already high in our country as compared to those in the international market. Therefore the government was already incurring a huge expenditure in the wheat procurement process to protect the interests of the farmers. Thus, maintaining the price at the current level is justifiable. This may not be good news for the ears of farmers who in fact work day and night for their produce and anticipate a handsome amount in return and rightly so. To satisfy the farmers’ community, there is a need to take steps that end their exploitation at the hands of middle man. Then most importantly, the input cost such as the prices of fertilizers should be cut as this will give substantial relief to the farmers. Agriculture indeed is the backbone of the country’s economy and it can only flourish and achieve high productivity if the farmers are well taken care of. Government recently announced cut in the power tariff for agriculture tube wells which definitely is also an appreciable step but still more needs to be done in the form of provision of better quality seeds, easy rather interest-free credit and access to latest technology so that the farmers could really exploit the full potential of their fertile land. We therefore will urge the government to draft a comprehensive agriculture policy that envisages complete overhaul of the sector that put it on the modern lines. Definitely the assistance from China which has made great gains in the sector will go a long way in enhancing the productivity of agriculture sector manifold.

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