‘Self-sufficiency in wheat due to increase in support price’


Dispelling the impression that wheat flour prices have increased due to the enhanced wheat support price for growers, Sindh Agriculture Minister Syed Ali Nawaz Shah said that rather wheat production has increased due to the increase in support price. Participating in the general discussion on budget in the Sindh Assembly on Friday, the minister said the province would not have to import wheat, as it has achieved the target for wheat production and even has wheat in surplus quantity now.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Syed Mardan Shah said the growers are already paying different taxes; therefore, the demand for agricultural income tax is unjustified, adding that the agriculture sector is already facing problems including shortage of irrigation water and increase in prices of fertilisers. PPP’s Syed Bachal Shah was of the view that with the province already facing financial constraints due to last year’s flood damages, the increase in salaries and pensions of government employees in the budget was a big job. He emphasised upon the government to monitor the utilisation of funds as these are being wasted due to corruption and mismanagement.
However, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Sports Minister Dr Muhammad Ali Shah insisted that income tax on agriculture must be collected because growers are only paying tax on land. “I cannot cast vote in favour of budget until schemes proposed by me for the development of sports are not included in the budget,” he said, adding that approving small schemes for promotion of sports in the province would also be helpful in discouraging the use of arms and drugs.
Tauqir Fatima Bhutto of the PPP said that the government was striving for improvement in living standards of women under Benazir Bhutto’s vision for women empowerment. Earlier during the question and answers session, Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro informed the house that new buildings for courts in eleven districts of the province, including Karachi, are being constructed and all work on most of the buildings has been completed.