ISLAMABAD: The government has drawn up a comprehensive agricultural transformation plan “for the very first time in the country’s history” and is implementing it as a priority, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday.
Presiding over a series of meetings on priority sectors, the Prime Minister called on the authorities concerned to take action against the urea hoarders and to facilitate investors in any way possible. He also stressed the need to quickly complete the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to the prime minister’s office, Khan chaired the meetings to review the progress of the implementation of the agricultural transformation plan and special economic zones.
Said to focus on SEZs to build export-oriented industries
At the meeting on the agriculture transformation plan, Mr. Khan said that the mechanization of the agricultural sector, the provision of quality seeds, an efficient water management system and livestock assistance transformed the sector into a high yield economic entity.
With the introduction of the Kissan Card, the fertilizer subsidy and the genetic improvement of livestock, the government aimed to achieve even higher yields from last year’s record production, he said. .
The meeting was informed that to disseminate quality seeds in order to increase the average yield and product quality, the relevant approvals had been taken and the release of funds was underway. For the genetic improvement of livestock, the import of quality semen has been proposed and the process has been accelerated and given high priority.
In addition, to help pastoralists, the 9211 helpline has been reactivated in the Punjab while it is almost completed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The meeting was also informed that the agriculture mechanization project was nearing completion and the distribution of machines to farmers would start soon. This would increase yields and reduce operating costs.
The meeting was also informed about the cultivation of the olive tree and was informed that the importation of high yielding plants for 20,000 acres had already started.
Regarding shrimp farming, the meeting received an update on the hatcheries that had been established and would soon be operational in Punjab and Balochistan.
The meeting was also briefed on the fertilizer situation in the country, urea and diammonium phosphate consumption and operations against hoarders. The prime minister ordered officials to take strict action against grabbers and profiteers and those involved in smuggling urea-based fertilizers.
Special economic zones
At the SEZ meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government’s goal is to increase investments in these investment zones to establish export-oriented industries.
He said the government’s business-friendly policies and emphasis on ease of doing business had started to yield positive results.
“The increase in investment from overseas Pakistanis and foreign investors is a result of the confidence the government has won through its effective policy measures,” he added.
The meeting provided detailed presentations on SEZs and initiatives taken by the Board of Investment (BoI), the CPEC Authority and relevant ministries to assist investors in obtaining Certificates of No Objection (NOC) and to comply with different regimes, both under the provincial and federal governments.
The meeting was informed that four major SEZs – including the industrial city of Allama Iqbal, Rashakai, Dhabeji and Bostan – were operational with a global tally of 21 special economic zones of varying sizes.
A one-stop-shop model for investors has been prepared by the BoI to assist in the provision of basic equipment, including electricity, gas, water and building permits.
A unified compliance regime has also been formulated for services under the jurisdiction of the provincial and federal governments. In addition, a proposal regarding the empowerment of management companies to obtain NOCs and permits on behalf of investors was also presented.
Posted in Dawn, December 28, 2021