Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Ministry wants agriculture sector exempted from GST

The National Food Ministry has requested the prime minister to exempt agriculture inputs from General Sales Tax (GST) in a bid to reduce the cost of production and provide relief to the farmers.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan and Federal Secretary Sirat Asghar alon gwith other concerned officials held a meeting with the country’s premier last weekend, informing him about the difficulties being faced by the growers due to high cost of production.
A senior official informed that the ministry had requested the premier to subsidise the agriculture sector, adding that this would make the farmers take an interest in growing crops, ultimately helping in ensuring food security.
The prime minister, in response, has asked the ministry to forward a summary. The decision will be taken after discussion with FBR authorities.
The ministry said the farmers are avoiding growing crops due to high cost of production and are demanding either an increase in crop support price or exemption from the 17% GST. Every country, including India, has given subsidies to the agriculture sector to facilitate farmers, they said.
Earlier, in a National Assembly Standing Committee meeting on National Food Security and Research, a group of parliamentarians, led by PML-N Raza Hayat Hiraj, strongly lobbied for increasing the crop support price, but majority of the members rejected it, terming it an anti-poor move that would spur inflation in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune

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