ECC approves cash subsidy instead of wheat seeds for flood-hit farmers

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar presides over a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in Islamabad on January 25, 2023. PHOTO: PID

In a departure from its previous position, the federal government moved to support flood-hit farmers in the country, but by handing them cash grants instead of wheat seeds even as the rabi (winter) sowing season gets underway.

This was decided on Wednesday during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the federal cabinet.

The meeting was chaired by Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and was attended by the federal ministers for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Power Khurram Dastgir Khan, Planning and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, former prime minister and MNA Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, SAPM on Government Effectiveness Dr Jehanzeb Khan, Coordinator to PM on Commerce and Industry Rana Ihsan Afzal, federal secretaries and other senior officers attended the meeting.

During the meeting, the forum considered a summary submitted by the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Ministry on subsidy for wheat seed (rabi 2022-23).

The forum allowed the provision of Rs8.39 billion through TSG in favor of the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) for the provision of cash subsidy to farmers of flood-affected areas instead of the provision of wheat seeds as per recommendations of the committee.

The ECC also directed BISP to initiate cash disbursement through its partner banks as per the set eligibility criteria to people identified by the Sindh government.

Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division) submitted a summary for extending the lease for Adam X-1 development and production for five years counted from February 10, 2022, to increase the domestic oil and gas production and to reduce the burden of imported energy.

The Adam X-1 Development and Production lease was granted for seven years on February 10, 2015. It is spread over 19.42 square kilometers in Sanghar.

The division argued that the field still has potential for further commercial production.

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