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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has decided to supply indigenous gas to urea fertiliser plants till 31st May 2023 for urea production instead of import to meet the urea fertilizer demand for Kharif Crop 2023.

The meeting of the ECC presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has taken the decision on a summary moved by the Ministry of Industries and Production that a meeting of the Fertilizer Review Committee (FRC) was convened on March 9, 2023, to review the fertilizer situation for the upcoming Kharif Season 2023.

The meeting was further informed that the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) has projected demand of urea fertilizer at 3.2 million metric tons, whereas, production was estimated to be around 2.9 million MT, thereby, estimating a shortfall between demand and supply of 0.3 million MT.

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The Ministry of NFS&R recommended two options to bridge that shortfall that either SNGP-based fertilizer plants i.e. Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura plant) and Agritech may be operated immediately or import of 300.000 metric tons of urea fertilizer may be completed by May-2023.

The recommendations were agreed upon by all Provincial Agriculture Departments. The Ministry of NFS&R has already requested the Ministry of Industries and Production for ensuring operations of SNGPL-based plants for meeting the demand of urea fertilizer in the country. It was also informed that the ECC of the Cabinet dated March 30, 2022, had already directed Petroleum Division to shift the SNGPL-based plants to indigenous gas by September 30, 2022, however, the plants have not been provisioned with indigenous gas to date.

The issue has been debated since last year and the Ministry of NFS&R while working out the demand for the calendar year 2023 had already proposed that to bridge the gap between demand and supply, both plants should be operated immediately.

Subsequently, while considering the summary by the Ministry of NFS&R, the meeting of the ECC had assigned the task to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (MNA) for putting the proposals before the ECC for a decision.

In view of the above-stated position, it was proposed that; (i) Petroleum Division may be directed to supply indigenous gas to both plants at the SNGPL network i.e. Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura Plant) and Agritech (Mianwali) immediately for bridging the gap between demand and supply of urea fertilizer for Kharif season 2023;(ii) the matter of gas pricing/allocation of indigenous gas to both plants on long-term basis may be decided by the committee constituted by the ECC under the chairmanship of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the report of the same may be submitted to the ECC by the Petroleum Division.

The meeting of the ECC was attended by Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Industries and Production Syed Murtaza Mahmud, Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi MNA/Ex-PM, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, SAPM on Government Effectiveness Dr Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, federal secretaries and other senior officers attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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