Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt on Friday said consequences of the budget are unexpected for the masses and the business community. The worried business community representing different important sector have started protests while many are planning to jump over the bandwagon, he said.  He noted that agricultural development through budget measures is a speculation, which is not supported by the evidence; therefore the most important sector will continue to face uncertainty. In a statement issued here today, Shahid Rasheed Butt said that imposition of additional taxes on food items is unjustified, as it will fan poverty and disgruntlement among masses facing inflation.
He said that all the governments have admitted that agriculture is the cheapest way to eradicate poverty and ensure development but tall claims were always preferred over action. Our agriculture development policies have always backfired while the policies in the neighboring countries have worked well beating our per acre yield by a wide margin, he said. The veteran business leader noted that we are importing food items despite having four seasons and the best canal system in the world irrigating 4.1 million acres of land which is enough to feed fifty crore people.

The biggest obstacle in agriculture development is the deficiency of capital when required as many banks simply do not exist for the majority of small farmers and they can only satisfy their needs from loan sharks. Banks supposed to support agriculture are helping landlords while the figures of agriculture loans are misleading as they end up in pockets of the influential landed nobility and industrialists, he said adding that if businesses cannot operate without capital, how can farmers operate without it.

The banking sector in Pakistan is not inclined towards agriculture due to a lack of knowledge and prejudice while their attitude to ignore small farmers amounts to keep them in the clutches of the loan sharks and intermediaries. Bankers will continue to ignore the rural economy as long as the bankers are properly educated regarding agriculture and Pakistan will continue to be a net food importer despite an agricultural country. 

He noted that there are vast gaps between the acquired and actual output of produce, which suffers due to a lack of apathy of banks, inappropriate technology, use of inputs at improper times, and unavailability of water. Inadequate education about insect pest control and inefficient use of resources not only negatively affects the produce but also significantly reduces the amount of produce.
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