Too little, too late: Sindh unimpressed by budget measures

Farmers fear fertiliser subsidy will not be passed on to targeted segment

Z Ali June 04, 2016
Farmers fear fertiliser subsidy will not be passed on to targeted segment. PHOTO: APP

HYDERABAD: While the federal budget 2016-17 tried to settle the issues of agitated farmers by announcing a subsidy on fertiliser, increasing the volume of agro-credit and lowering the power tariff, agriculturists in Sindh are still taking these measures with a pinch of salt.

“Too little, too late, and that too coming after a year of negative growth in the sector,” remarked Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Syed Mehmood Nawaz Shah

The budget proposed a subsidy of Rs36 billion for urea and Rs10 billion for di-ammonium phosphate (DAP)), which will be borne by the federal and provincial governments. The move will decrease the price of a urea bag to Rs1,400 and that of the DAP to Rs,2500.

The volume of agricultural credit has also been enhanced by Rs100 billion to Rs700 billion.

Under the budget recommendations, the general sales tax on the pesticides, which was slashed from 17% to 8% in the outgoing fiscal, stands waived.

The ‘per unit rate’ of electricity for the tube wells has been cut by around 35% to Rs5.35 from the existing rate of Rs8.55. The government will foot the bill with Rs27 billion for this reduction.

While acknowledging the drop in fertiliser and urea prices along with subsidised power for tube-wells to be positive for the agro economy, Shah said potassium, which is an essential nutrient for crops’ growth and the bag of which is worth Rs5,500, has been omitted from the subsidy.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2016.

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