The government of Punjab has decided to double the development budget allocation for agriculture and introduce projects to improve the quality of seeds and agricultural services to boost production, said Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht.
“Furthermore, the tax on agricultural services for the corporate sector will be reduced from 16% to 1% in a bid to turn the agriculture sector attractive for investment by the corporate sector,” he said while speaking at a pre-budget seminar on Thursday.
“Additionally, the establishment of special zones to improve livestock breeding and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease will also be part of the budget 2021-22.”
He announced expansion in the scope of Kisan Card to provide subsidies and other benefits for farmers. He stressed that opportunities were being created for the private sector by reducing the burden of public sector on banks.
The Punjab government supports the federal government for uniformity in taxes in all provinces, he said.
People involved in the agriculture segment would be able to utilise the Punjab Rozgar Scheme for expansion of the sector.
He pointed out that a committee was constituted to review the infrastructure cess and decision would be made in accordance with recommendations of the body.
“Tax incentives extended by the government of Punjab during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic will continue in the next financial year as well,” he said.
He emphasised that the current economic growth was the outcome of business-friendly policies of federal and provincial governments.
The Punjab Revenue Authority’s (PRA) tax collection has improved despite the reduction in tax rate, he added.
Further reduction in stamp duty, improvement in regulatory framework and increase in investment in the services sector would ensure economic growth, he added.
The provincial minister told seminar participants that special attention was being paid to the education and health sectors in the budget for next fiscal year.
“Delivery of services at the district level is also being improved,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Saleem Bhilar demanded the reduction in mark-up rate for farmers.
He appreciated the agricultural and business-friendly initiatives of the Punjab government.
Representatives of the chamber, while praising the government for achieving nearly 4% economic growth, sought special focus on the agriculture sector, uniformity in tax rates, abolition of infrastructure cess and protection of small businesses.