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Fertiliser sector: gas supply to resume on March 1




  • Gas supply to fertiliser sector would be resumed on March 1 and there would be no shortage of fertiliser during Kharif season, said Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) on Thursday. The minister informed the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research that gas supply to fertiliser sector would resume on March 1, and the plants shut down after suspension of gas supply will start operation, ending shortage of fertilizer in the country. 

    The senate body also recommended to the government to increase annual budget of the Ministry of National Food Security, ensuring supply of DAP and nitrophosphate as well as abolishing GST on tractor industry. “The imposition of GST on tractor industry will adversely affect local manufacturers and farmers, therefore government must abolish it,” said Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah while presiding over the meeting. 

    The meeting was also attended by Muhammad Zafar Ullah Khan Dhandla, Nuzhat Sadiq, Seerat Asghar Secretary NFS&R, President Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) Ihsan Ullah Khan, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and other senior officials. 

    Bosan told the committee that imposition of GST on tractor industry is badly affecting the local manufacturers. He informed the committee that Millat Tractors Limited (MTL) has almost stopped its tractors assembly line. The minister said that farmers are not able to purchase tractors due to imposition of GST on the industry, hence the government should recommend exemption to tractor manufacturers from GST. 

    Seerat Asghar secretary of the ministry told the committee that it has forwarded plant breeder rights bill to the Cabinet Division for promulgation as an ordinance and the committee will be informed about the decision of the Cabinet Division. About increase in limits of loan to farmer by State Bank of Pakistan and ZTBL, the committee said that the SBP has enhanced the limit of loan, but yet not issued any notification in this regard. 

    Seerat said that the total requirement of cottonseed in the country is 40,000 tons while presently 20,000 tons certified cottonseed is available. Bosan told the committee that MNH886, a variety of BT cotton, which was cultivated over a large area in Punjab during last year, showed good results. Punjab Seed Council has approved 15 new varieties of BT cotton but National Bio Safety is yet to clear the new varieties. 

    He said last year illegal cottonseed was used extensively in Punjab due to which per acre yield had been badly affected. The committee issued directives to ensure availability of certified cottonseed to farmers this year. About the closure of National Fertilizer Companies due to corruption, the minister said the government has yet not taken any decision in this regard. However, he said he had recommended to the authorities to stop supply of fertiliser through NFCs and the companies should lift fertilisers as per their share from the port. In case of shortage of fertiliser the particular company should be held responsible, he said. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2014

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