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Government decides to revamp fertiliser policy




  • Federal government has decided to revamp fertilizer policy with massive changes in urea import and distribution policy in consultation with the provincial governments, official sources told Business Recorder. The sources said a committee constituted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif comprising Secretaries, Finance, Industries and Production, National Food Security & Research and Petroleum & Natural Resources met recently wherein it was decided to constitute a sub-committee of technical experts from representative Ministries. 

    Inter-ministerial committee constituted by the Prime Minister was to examine and propose modalities for replacing current indirect subsidy to the farmers with direct subsidy with a view to prevent leakage/pilferage as well as optimal benefits to farmers community. 

    The sub-committee was given the following mandate: (i) financial implication of gas supply to the fertilizer sector or to the power sector at basic unit of MMCFD of gas; and (ii) economic analysis to work out per unit gas to fertilizer sector or power sector with respect to imported urea or imported diesel. 

    National Productivity Organisation (NPO), an arm of the Ministry of Industries and Production, in a recent communication to the Secretary Industries Shafqat Naghmi stated that there is also wastage of electricity, gas and water, etc, in the industrial sector and it is clear that these resources are not being often used efficiently. Nine out of 10 fertiliser plants in the country are operating at a productivity level of 32-35 percent and provided subsidised gas. This certainly raises a demand for performance-based audit of these companies, to save wastage of natural gas that is used as a raw material by them. But these plants also often cannot operate at the maximum capacity because of shortage of gas. 

    According to sources, two consecutive meetings of the sub committee were held on August 28, 2013 and August 30, 2013. The sub-committee would complete its exercise shortly and submit its findings to the main committee for finalising its modalities. The sources further stated that financial implication of the required supply of gas is being worked out in consultation with ”relevant stakeholders ie Ministries of Finance, Petroleum & NR, National Food Security & Research, Water & Power and National Fertiliser; Development Centre. National Fertiliser Corporation (NFC) has been directed to ensure timely payment to TCP on account of supply of imported urea. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2013

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