PESHAWAR: With the aim to give some relief to the farmers in all tribal districts, the Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) recommended the federal government to waive off Rs30 million of agricultural loans, an official statement said.

The meeting held under the Chairmanship of Senator Hidayatullah and was attended Senators Hilal-ur Rehman, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Shamim Afridi, Najma Hameed, Secretary SAFRON, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Chief Executive officer of Tribal Electric Supply Company (TESCO) relevant ministries.

Regarding agricultural loans to small farmers from erstwhile Federal Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), the Committee was told that the total amount of outstanding loans given to people from ex-FATA between 2009 and 2012 was Rs471 million, out of which only Rs30 million was an agricultural loan.

The committee was also given an update on the status of non-payment of salaries and pension to the personnel of Levies and Khasadar working in Kurram and Orakzai Agencies. The committee directed the deputy commissioners of all seven tribal districts to complete work on proposed and recommended projects for the year and submit details to the committee with mention of the agency or parliamentarian who has recommended the project.

The committee discussed in detail the matter of tax exemption to the erstwhile FATA and it was informed that due to the economic backwardness of the former FATA and PATA, federal government on July 23, 2018, granted income tax exemption on profits and gains derived from any source in the areas.

Additionally, there are exemptions of taxes on setting up new industries, supply of electricity to domestic, commercial and industrial consumers, on the supply of goods by retailers located in the areas, and on the goods produced and supplied by industrial units located in the ex-FATA and ex-PATA.

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