Thursday, 16 January 2014
ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research Thursday called for including progressive agriculture growers in the Board of Directors of Zarai Taraqiati Bank (ZTBL) to ensure best policies suitable for small and medium farmers.
“Currently the members of the board are industrialists who make policies only for the benefit of middle men and industrialists”, said Chairman of the Committee Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah here on Thursday.
The Chairman of the Committee said that such people should be included in the board who understand the problems of growers and who also can help the bank to recover loans.
He also directed the ZTBL President Ihsan ul Haq visit regional offices and arrange meetings with progressive farmers and interact with small farmers to know their common issues.
Syed Muzafar Shah said that the maximum limit of loan disbursement worth Rs one million is very low and it should be enhanced as the prices of agriculture inputs has been gone up.
Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Bosan said on the occasion that ZTBL was the only bank in the country which has links with small farmers in far flung areas of the country.
He said that he himself think that the upper limit for the loan is very low and in this regard he would take up the issue with the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister further said that due to governments immediate measures, the prices of urea and fertilizers have been brought down.
Highlighting issue of blackmailing of local dealers regarding prices of agriculture inputs, he said it would be ensured to put price tags on each agriculture input.
Briefing about ZTBL’s performance, the ZTBL President said that during last year, the bank disbursed a total of Rs 71 billion as loans as against Rs 64 billion during the year 2012.
Ihsan ul Haq said that the ZTBL should be granted licence for commercial banking so that it can increase its capacity which will ultimately benefit the farmers.
Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah said that the committee will take up this issue with State Bank.
Earlier the Standing Committee directed National Agriculture Research Council to provide the benefit of their new research to the doorstep of a common farmer.
The Committee was also attended by Senators Hari Ram, Senarot Muhammad Zafarullah Khan Dhandla and Muhammad Kazim Khan.