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ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet is to exempt 0.1 million tons of urea import tender from PPRA Rules in view of the emergency related to food security, official sources told Business Recorder.

The Ministry of Industries and Production in a summary proposed the following measures to address shortage of urea fertilizer during Rabi Season 2021-22: (i) SNGPL-based plants may be operated for a further two months i.e. Dec-21 and Jan-22 with immediate restoration of gas supplies to SNGPL based urea plants or (ii) import of 200,000 MT may be allowed to meet demand of urea fertilizer during Rabi Season 2021-22.

The ECC while considering the summary accorded approval for operations of SNGPL based plants for a further period of two months i.e. Dec-21and Jan-22 and further directed M/o Industries and Production to make an assessment of demand and supply of urea and DAP fertilizers, in consultation with Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and submit proposals/recommendation to the ECC.

The meeting under the chairmanship of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission was held on September 29, 2021 during which demand and supply for urea and DAP fertilizer was discussed and following recommendations were agreed to be put forth before the ECC of the Cabinet: (i) for the month of Oct-Dec 2021, SSGCL should ensure provision of 63MMCFD gas to FFBL (possibly by cutting down demand from some other sector); (ii) for the month of Jan-2022, SSGCL may be directed to ensure provision of system gas/RLNG and if RLNG is to be opted, then differential for RLNG price and the negotiated gas price to be paid by FFBL, shall be borne by GoP, working; and (iii) for market signaling, a tender for import of 100,000 MT of urea may be floated. However, decision to accept or reject tender may be taken by ECC at the tender opening stage.

Import of urea: ministry for exemption from PPRA rules

The sources said a case for relaxation of PPRA Rules was submitted to the PPRA Board for approval. However, the Board declined the request with an advice to adopt open competitive bidding process for the requisite procurement.

The MoI&P on November 15, 2021 informed the ECC forum that it might delay the import of urea, which is required on urgent basis to meet the needs of Rabi Crop 2027-22. The ECC observed that it is an emergency situation, all necessary measures must be taken to avoid any shortages during Rabi season 2021.-22.

Therefore, it was agreed to recommend to the PPRA Board to reconsider its earlier decision and grant relaxation of PPRA Rules to avoid any possibility of shortage in the country during the Rabi season 2021.

The ECC considered the recommendations of Technical Advisory Sub Committee headed by Finance Advisor, Shaukat Tarin and approved the proposal in principle, with the recommendation that the PPRA Board may consider the request of Ministry of Industries and Production for grant of exemption to the TCP from rule 13,35,38 and 40 of the PPRA Rules.

Meanwhile, in an inter-ministerial meeting, the urea supply and demand position in the country was discussed. It was brought to attention of the Chair that different dealers had hoarded 4.5 lakh tons of urea and gained absorptive profit of Rs. 50 per bag of urea.

The meeting expressed deep concern over the hoarding of an essential commodity for farmers and asked the Provincial Governments to take strict action against hoarders and those engaged in black marketing of fertilizers.

The meeting was also told that owing to current stock of urea, the fresh consignment of 100,000 MT of urea will be arriving in the first week of December in the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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