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Senate body seeks waiver of agricultural loans for erstwhile FATA farmers

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ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions on Friday recommended to waive off the agricultural loans to provide relief to small farmers of the erstwhile FATA.

The Senate standing committee said this in its meeting under the Chairmanship of Senator Hidayatullah here at the Parliament House.

Senators Hilal-ur-Rehman, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Shamim Afridi, Najma Hameed, Secretary SAFRON, Member IR Policy Wing, CEO TESCO, officials from the State Bank of Pakistan and relevant ministries and others were also present on this occasion.

Regarding agricultural loans to small farmers from the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the committee was told that the total amount of outstanding loans given to people from the erstwhile FATA between 2009 and 2012 was 471 million, out of which only 30 million was agricultural loans.

The Senate body recommended to waive off the agricultural loans to give relief to small farmers as the area had been under civil war and no agricultural produce had been obtained.

The Senate standing committee on SAFRON in the meeting directed the Deputy Commissioners of all seven districts of erstwhile FATA to complete work on proposed and recommended ADP projects for the year and submit details with mention of the agency or parliamentarian who had recommended the project.

The Committee was told that according to Planning and Development Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Law Enforcement Agencies, MNAs, Senators and tribal elders had to be consulted before proposing any project in the area.

The committee discussed in detail the matter of tax exemption to erstwhile FATA. The Senate committee was told that the SROs 1212 and 1213 relating to sales tax and income tax were not in force now and the tax situation was the same as was applicable before 25th amendment. The Committee decided to call the Chairman FBR, secretary Finance and Secretary Law and Justice in the next meeting to discuss the matter.

The Committee was also given update on the status of non-payment of salaries and pension to the personnel of levies and Khasadars working in Kurram and Orakzai Agencies.

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