April 26, Islamabad – Federal Minister for Privatisation, Mr. Daniyal Aziz chaired a meeting which was held to discuss and finalize the proposed amendments in Agriculture, commercial and industrial loans act1973. Federal Minister for Power Awais Leghari was also present in the meeting. Senior officials from SBP, National Bank, ZTBL, Ministry of Finance and HBL attended the meeting. This meeting is the third meeting of the series and the purpose was to finalize the proposed amendments in the act, which could enable rural population to access the loan for purposes other than agriculture.The Minister stated that the purpose of the subject amendments would be to widen the scope of the act and outreach of the loan facility under this act.The Minister stressed the need for revisiting the Loans for Agriculture, Commercial and Industrial Purposes Act 1973, which was restricted with only agriculture loaning on the basis of PIU and ASV. Federal Minister proposed that new measures must be introduced where banks should lend on the commercial property on the basis of DC rates, which must be included in passbook, also on the basis of disposable income or other verifiable income means.Moreover the deposit base of the banks is fast growing whereas the lending is restricted with the agriculture loaning, the minister called for enhancing banking sector outreach in the rural areas of the country in order to ensure easy access to credit facility for the people living in underprivileged and far flung areas of the country. The Minister also asked for extending the credit outreach facility for other sectors and it should not be merely restricted to agriculture or farming.

The definition of ‘land’ needs to be redefined and land falling under residential or commercial category could also be incorporated. This would be an expansion of PIU. Mr. Aziz further said that only then the real purpose of the act could be materialized.

It may be recalled that the cabinet has formed an inter-ministerial Committee headed by Minister for Privatisation to propose amendment in the above mentioned act.

The Minister asked the financial institutions for extending their credit facilities to allied industries for a balanced economic growth and development in the country. The Federal Minister suggested that the banks for considering the provision of credit on basis of disposable income instead of using typical methodology, which ultimately hinders equal opportunity to rural people seeking loans from banks.

They were of the view that the amendment in the subject rule would enable the banking sector to extend its outreach to other sectors of the national economy for a balanced growth and multifaceted progress.

The participants agreed upon the proposed amendments and appreciated the efforts made by the Minister Privatisation and agreed to move ahead with these amendments.