Govt taking steps to facilitate small farmers, Senate told




Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid on Tuesday informed the Senate that the government was taking several steps to facilitate small farmers in the country.

During question-hour in the House, the minister said that 99 per cent loans had been given to the small farmers as part of the present government’s policy.

The minister said that there was no proposal under consideration to provide interest-free loans to tea and mushroom growers in the country.

To another question, the minister said that 26 per cent shares of Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) were sold to M/S Etisalat for $2.599 billion.

The amount paid by the company so far is $1.799 billion. The total outstanding amount is $799.306 million, the minister added.

He said that as per the Share Purchase Agreement (SPA), the payment of the balance amount was contingent upon transfer of clean and clear titles of 3,248 properties by January 2008.

The government did not meet the deadline and, therefore, Etisalat International Pakistan (EIP), the purchaser of PTCL had been delaying further payments on the grounds that all properties included in the SPA had not been transferred in the name of PTCL, the minister added.

Hamid said that the Privatisation Commission was actively pursuing and facilitating the process of transfer of properties to PTCL. Till date, out of a total of 3,248 properties, 3,215 (99%) had been transferred while the remaining 33 (1%) properties could not be transferred due to various reasons, including, legal impediments.

He said that pursuant to the SPA, the 33 non-transferred properties had been forwarded to M/s Etisalat as ‘Second Shortfall’ for resolution of the matter as per the SPA.