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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the government is providing a subsidy of Rs120 billion on gas to the fertiliser industry along with Rs100 billion worth tax incentives, yet the fertiliser companies are supplying extra amount of fertiliser to specific dealers in some areas, which reports indicate are involved in hoarding.

While chairing a high-level meeting to review wheat and fertiliser stock in the country, he said that stern action will be taken against those fertiliser manufacturers, who in connivance with some dealers, may be acting as mafia to create artificial shortages to escalate prices.

The prime minister was informed that there is 6.6 million metric tons of public wheat stock available, while an adequate stock of fertiliser will be available for the Rabi crop in 2021. Both stocks are adequate to meet the requirements of the country.

According to data collected, it was informed that fertiliser companies based in Sindh have provided abnormally greater stock to some dealers in Sindh as compared to dealers in other areas of the country where it is required for meeting cultivation demands. The prime minister expressed serious concern over the disproportionate stock distribution of urea and directed that fertiliser be provided to other areas as per requirement of farmers.

The prime minister emphasised that the PTI government has introduced farmer-friendly policies for the first time in the history of the country.

Highest-ever 5.1m metric tons of urea sold in 10 months

However, he lamented that mafias are busy in profiteering rather than caring for the interest of the consumers.

He further stated that the government is providing Rs120 billion subsidy on gas to the fertiliser industry along with Rs100 billion worth tax incentives.

Yet the fertiliser companies are supplying extra amount of fertiliser to specific dealers in some areas, which reports indicate are involved in hoarding.

This disparity has benefited the hoarders as a result of which artificial shortage has been created.

The prime minister directed immediate crackdown on fertiliser hoarders and punitive action as per anti-profiteering and anti-hoarding laws.

He directed that Track and Trace system introduced for the sugar sector should also be used for fertiliser industry to discourage artificial shortage and price manipulation.

The prime minister said that legal recourse will be taken against hoarders and profiteers and if the provincial government of Sindh does not take effective measures against these anti-people criminals, the federal government may intervene under relevant legal provisions to compensate for inaction of Sindh Government against hoarders, as this inaction by the Sindh Government is adversely affecting the supply and prices of fertiliser throughout the country including Sindh.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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