ISLAMABAD: Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt has said that spending 40 percent of the country’s export earnings to import agriculture products is matter of concern.
In a statement on Monday, he said that solid reforms needed to in neglected agriculture sector as verbal pledges would not mend the situation.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that policy of compromising agriculture for fancy megaprojects, which is being practiced for decades should be abandoned in the national interests.
He said that sugarcane crop tops in wastage of water but it is being promoted on the cost of cotton which is a threat to the textile industry and the whole agriculture sector.
A provincial government is closing down departments related to agriculture development which should be noticed and reversed, he informed. He said that food products worth $7.55 billion have been imported during the first eleven months of this fiscal which include wheat, sugar, cotton, pulses, palm oil, milk, and dairy products.
The annual import of cotton has been estimated to be two billion dollars resulting in total imports of agri products of 9.5 billion dollars which will be 40 percent of total exports.
The former ICCI President said that the government has claimed a bumper wheat crop but it has also decided to import thirty million tonnes of wheat costing one billion dollars which is amazing.
The practice of smuggling three hundred thousand tonnes of wheat will continue unabated during the next fiscal, he said, adding that policy of reducing prices of cars and mobile phones and making food items costly is beyond understanding and highly unwarranted.
Shahid Rasheed said that budget measures will increase the price of flour, sugar, milk, and dairy products putting an additional burden of billions on the masses which is unjustified.