ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday ordered federal government to stop implementation on Prime Minister Kisan Package till December 3, terming the September 15’s announcement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as an attempt to influence the local bodies elections in Punjab and Sindh.
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In the statement the ECP said only those parts of PM Kisan Package will affected by the order which were not previously announced during the budget session of parliament in June this year. All other sections of the package might be fully implemented during the time, ECP announced.
Government may start implementing the stayed sections of Kisan Package after completion of all three phases of local bodies elections in Punjab and Sindh provinces.
The sections of Kisan Package that have been halted by ECP include Rs 5000 per acre aid to those farmers having 12.5 acre or less land, a special 2% lesser interest rate for those farmers werecultivating rice and cotton in this season and increment of production units to 4,000 from 2,000.
Other parts of the package that included provisions of special loans and subsidies to farmers of all four provinces will remain unaffected by the ECP order.
Political parties moved ECP terming the announcement of Prime Minister Kisan Package as an attempt to influence the local bodies election that have been scheduled to be held in November and December this year. Parties said the package was part of pre-poll rigging by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.
Earlier on September 15 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced a relief package of over Rs341 billion for farmers.
Addressing farmers at a ceremony held at Kisan Convention in the federal capital , the prime minister said the relief package was designed in four parts, with the first part being direct financial cooperation for farmers, second being relief in agricultural costs, third being provision of agricultural loans and fourth being facilitating the process of obtaining loans.
In wake of superfluous production of rice, Nawaz Sharif announced the small rice farmers would be provided Rs5,000 per acre cash support.
He said, the government has decided to give cash assistance of Rs5,000 to cotton growers as well.
“Some Rs40 billion will be spent for the provision of cash grants to rice and cotton farmers. This cost will be jointly borne by federal and provincial governments,” the premier announced.
Nawaz said the reduction in prices of commodities and increase in the prices of agriculture inputs has raised the cost of production.
In order to reduce costs of fertilisers, the government is setting up a fund of Rs20b, as a result of which the cost of phosphate and potassium fertilisers per sack is being cut by at least Rs500.