Agreements signed with banks LAHORE: The Punjab government signed on Saturday several agreements with different commercial banks for the provision of government-sponsored interest-free agriculture loans to small farmers through smartphones.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced increasing the volume of loans to Rs100 billion.
Addressing the signing ceremony, Sharif said thousands of farmers would benefit from the programme.
Secretary Agriculture Muhammad Mehmood and representatives of National Bank of Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank, National Rural Support Programme and Tameer Bank signed the documents.
The chief minister said owing to this step of the government, sit-ins on The Mall would now stop.
He said rice and cotton growers suffered losses during the last three years while recession in international markets also affected local farmers.
He said in view of the losses suffered by cultivators, the prime minister gave Rs40bn package and the Punjab government contributed 50 per cent share.
He said it has been the point of view of cultivators that loans are given to industries and investors at the interest rate of 8 to 9 per cent while cultivators get credit at 16pc mark-up. “Now farmers will get interest-free loans.”
Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr Farrukh Javed said Android mobile phones would also be given to cultivators for communication.